by Steven Ertelt
October 19, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The U.S. Senate on Thursday night rejected an effort by pro-life lawmakers to cut federal funding for family planning efforts carried out by abortion facilities. Backers of an amendment to do that said their goal was not to cut such efforts but to make sure taxpayer dollars aren’t sent to abortion businesses.
However, the Senate voted 52-41 against the amendment pro-life Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, offered to the fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (S 1710).
The federal funds don’t directly fund abortions, as the annual Hyde amendment prohibits federal taxpayer funding of virtually all abortions.
But the Vitter amendment focused on what pro-life advocates call fungible funds — money meant for non-abortion purposes that allows abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood to more easily pay for abortions.
During the debate on his amendment, Vitter said it is a "very reasonable mainstream policy to say" that the government is not going to "support groups that perform abortions."
Vitter added that federal funds subsidize abortion by supporting organizations that provide them, even if the groups do not use federal funding to perform abortions.
"The way it works now, we send federal dollars to abortion providers … and it supports their overhead and it supports their organizations," he said.
But pro-abortion Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, led the fight against the Vitter amendment and claimed it would have done "nothing to reduce abortions."
Had the Vitter amendment been adopted, it would have brought an end to the current practice of co-locating abortion clinics and federally funded “Title X” family planning clinics.
Republicans were unified in support of the amendment with even pro-life Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania voting against it.
Republican Sens. Kit Bond, Sue Collins, Dick Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, and Ted Stevens joined Democrats in voting against the Vitter amendment.
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