House Approves Push by Finkenauer and Endometriosis Caucus to Double Research Funding

July 30, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives approved an amendment introduced by Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) to double federal research funding for endometriosis, a health condition affecting one in 10 American women and 200 million worldwide.

Finkenauer, 31, is the founder and chairwoman of the first-ever bipartisan House Endometriosis Caucus. She announced in March in a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives that she has been living with endometriosis since she was a teenager.

While more common than many other diseases, endometriosis has received relatively little research funding to support treatments and cures. The amendment approved by the House doubles federal research funding to $26 million per year, from $13 million in Fiscal Year 2019.

"Endometriosis is under-researched and suffers from a lack of proven and effective treatments,” Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer said. “Doubling research funding will provide critical additional capacity for studying endometriosis, developing effective treatments and improving the quality of life for millions and millions of women. This is a game-changer."

To secure the increase, Finkenauer’s amendment boosts the overall budget for the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which oversees endometriosis research. When signed into law, the funding increase would take effect for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2020.

"Since we launched this caucus, I’ve heard so many brave stories from women living with endometriosis — many of whom suffered without even knowing their pain had a name," Finkenauer said. "Standing in solidarity with them means the world to me, and I’m so proud to deliver on this funding increase for them."

Finkenauer announced the formation of the first-ever Congressional Endometriosis Caucus on March 5 with Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) serving as co-chair.

"Endometriosis can be a serious condition that affects the lives of hundreds of thousands for women in the U.S. during their childbearing years. Complications related to endometriosis range from chronic menstrual pain to difficulties with pregnancy and infertility,” Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón said. “According to recent studies, close to 50,000 women struggle with endometriosis in Puerto Rico. However, challenges with research and diagnosis suggest that this number could be significantly higher."

"As a member of Congress and Co-Chair of the Endometriosis Caucus, I believe we must enlist the federal government and our capabilities for medical and scientific research to raise awareness about this condition,” González-Colón said. “I am proud to work alongside Congresswoman Finkenauer on this effort, and look forward to collaborating with caucus members and our colleagues in Congress to help the women and families that are affected by endometriosis every day."

Joining Finkenauer and González-Colón in the House Endometriosis Caucus are: Colin Allred (D-TX), Cindy Axne (D-IA), Nanette Barragan (D-CA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Kendra Horn (D-OK), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), David Scott (D-GA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY).

"I want to thank all of the more than 30 bipartisan members who have joined me in the House Endometriosis Caucus, and who have shared personal stories or stories of women they know living with endometriosis,” Finkenauer said. “Now is the time to go beyond awareness of endometriosis and begin taking action and finding solutions."

The funding increase is supported by the Endometriosis Foundation of America, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Endometriosis Association, Endo InVisible, Endo What? and the National WIC Association.

"Last March as Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer stood up on the House floor to share her endometriosis story, she stood up for all of us and our decades-long requests for increased funding, deeper research, more treatment options and better standards of care when it comes to endometriosis.” Endo InVisible Founder Melissa Tison said. “We believe the lack of funding into endometriosis is directly related to an inadequate understanding of the disease, the scarcity of treatment options and the low awareness that exists for such a common disease. With her formation of the House Endometriosis Caucus, Abby Finkenauer has given hope to the millions of Americans living with this debilitating disease, and we are excited to join her in working towards addressing and solving the public health crisis that is endometriosis."

Background 

An estimated 7 million women in the United States are living with endometriosis — about one in ten women. Worldwide, an estimated 200 million are affected.

According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, endometriosis occurs when tissue resembling endometrium — the tissue lining the uterus — migrates outside of the uterus. The presence of this tissue creates painful inflammation as it responds to the monthly fluctuations of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

There currently is no known cause of endometriosis, and there is no cure.

  • Endometriosis is the leading cause of hysterectomy in women 30-34 years old
  • Nearly half of all women who experience infertility have symptoms of endometriosis
  • Women suffer for seven to 10 years before being diagnosed with endometriosis