Statement of Support for Legislation to Prevent and End Obstetric Fistula

New York, NY, March 8, 2011- Americans for UNFPA, the official U.S. support organization for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, applauds Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for introducing legislation that will help save the lives of millions of marginalized women. The "Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope and Dignity Restoration Act", H.R. 949, would authorize funding to prevent obstetric fistula and treat women suffering from the debilitating child-birth injury.

"On the centennial anniversary of International Women's Day, this legislation addresses a condition that was eradicated in the western world over a hundred years ago, though still affects approximately two million women worldwide. It is imperative that no woman be forced to suffer this today, especially when fistula repair surgery is 90 percent successful," said Rita O'Connor, Chair of the Board, Americans for UNFPA.

Obstetric fistula is caused by prolonged labor and pressure through the birth canal, which destroys surrounding tissue and forms a hole between the bladder and vagina and/or the rectum and vagina. In most fistula cases, the baby is stillborn, and the mothers are left with uncontrollable leakage of urine and feces. Victims are often isolated and ostracized by friends and family.

The “Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope and Dignity Restoration Act” will bring new hope and opportunities to finally end this preventable condition.

Click here to read the full legislation.

To contact Members of Congress about this bill, call the Capitol Switchboard on: (202) 224-3121 or (866)220-0044.

###

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, provides women's health care and promotes the rights of women in over 150 countries around the world. Americans for UNFPA is dedicated to building moral, political and financial support in the United States for the work of UNFPA. UNFPA and Americans for UNFPA are committed to ensuring that every woman and girl has the right to a life full of health and dignity. When women are educated, healthy and empowered, families and communities thrive.