Planned Parenthood and United Nations Foundation Honor Senator Dick Durbin for International Family Planning Leadership

Chicago, IL

October 17, 2011


Alexis Krieg

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the United Nations Foundation, Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL), and more than 100 constituents honored Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today for his leadership in supporting funding for international family planning programs with the second annual International Family Planning Hero award.

While in Congress, Senator Durbin, who sits on the Senate Judiciary, Appropriations, Foreign Relations, and Rules and Administration Committees, has worked to promote and defend funding for international family planning programs. Senator Durbin also serves as the Assistant Majority Leader, the second highest ranking position in the Senate.

“In times like these, you can’t underestimate the importance of leadership. Planned Parenthood thanks Senator Durbin for fighting for a woman’s access to essential health care no matter where she lives,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“Access to voluntary international family planning services is a critical component of increasing maternal health, reducing poverty, sparking economic growth, and raising healthy and well-educated children — all steps that are imperative to confronting a range of U.S. foreign policy challenges. It also saves lives — fulfilling the unmet global need for voluntary family planning would reduce maternal mortality by 32 percent. That’s why we need and appreciate the strong leadership of Senator Dick Durbin, who has been a champion for women’s health in the Senate, fighting to preserve funding for UNFPA and for cost-effective programs that provide contraceptives to women in developing countries,” said Timothy E. Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation.

“Senator Durbin is an unparalleled champion of women’s health care. We’re proud to have a leader in our home state who is committed to improving women’s access to affordable, preventive health care,” said Carole Brite, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

“International family planning is fundamental to improving the health and livelihood of women and their families around the globe,” said Senator Durbin. “These programs also increase stability and spur development in some of the world’s poorest communities, helping us also achieve important development and security goals. Thank you to the United Nations Foundation and Planned Parenthood for your dedication to ensuring that women across the globe have access to critical health services. I look forward to working together as we continue our efforts to expand all women’s access to the health care they need and deserve.”

The International Family Planning Hero award was established to honor Congressional leaders who champion support for the world’s most vulnerable women and young people. In 2009, Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) received the first award.


For 95 years, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has promoted a commonsense approach to women’s health and well-being, based on respect for each individual’s right to make informed, independent decisions about health, sex, and family planning. The heart of Planned Parenthood is in the local community. Our 82 unique, locally governed affiliates nationwide operate nearly 800 health centers, which reflect the diverse needs of their communities.

For many individuals around the world, access to vital reproductive and sexual health care and information is blocked — by poverty, a lack of basic services, or politics and war. Planned Parenthood works with local partners in Africa and Latin America to overcome these barriers by increasing access to health care and education. Planned Parenthood nurtures local leadership, fosters sustainable health and education programs, and fights for legal, social, and political improvements in communities around the world. Planned Parenthood’s international program also advocates for sound U.S. foreign policies that improve the sexual health and well-being of individuals and families globally.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) is a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, and a passionate advocate. PPIL’s 17 health centers throughout the state deliver vital health care services, sex education, and sexual health information to more than 60,000 women, men, and teens each year.

For more than 60 years, building healthy communities has been Planned Parenthood’s mission in Illonois. Every day, PPIL helps all kinds of people get the health tools and information — and above all the care and compassion they need — to prevent unintended pregnancies or to plan for families when they are ready.

The United Nations Foundation was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations causes and activities. As a public charity, the United Nations Foundation advocates for the UN and connect people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems.

The United Nations Foundation links the UN’s work with others around the world, mobilizing the energy and expertise of business and non-governmental organizations to help the UN tackle issues including climate change, global health, peace and security, women’s empowerment, poverty eradication, energy access, and U.S.-UN relations.