by Steven Ertelt
April 5, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of lifting a Bush administration restriction on giving taxpayer funds to groups that perform or promote abortions in other countries. However, the change will not likely stay in place in the House and President Bush would veto the spending bill without his policy in place.
The Senate voted 52-46 to scrap Bush’s Mexico City Policy an in amendment to the 2006 foreign aid spending bill. California Democrat Barbara Boxer sponsored the abortion funding amendment.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews.com that the Senate vote was closer than in previous years.
"With pro-life gains in the November election, we came three votes closer to winning this year," Johnson said.
He told LifeNews.com that the Boxer amendment "faces a veto threat and it will not the pass the House, so the President’s pro-life policy will remain intact."
The Senate vote was mostly along party lines with Republicans opposing funding abortions and Democrats backing it. Eight Republicans joined with Democrats to provide the amendment its winning margin.
While Democrats claimed women were being denied basic health care as a result of the policy, "This is about taxpayer funding of abortion overseas," Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, said during the debate.
On his first day in office during his first term, President George W. Bush signed an executive order reinstituting the Mexico City Policy, a measure that Presidents Reagan and Bush used previously to block taxpayer funding of international groups that perform or promote abortions.
Applauded by pro-life organizations, the Bush policy, which covered the USAID program, was later expanded to include foreign aid funding all State Department programs.
President Bush has repeatedly threatened to veto any legislation with a provision overturning the policy.
President Clinton scrapped the Mexico City Policy during his eight years in office. President Reagan created it in 1984 and it had been in place until January 1993 when Clinton reversed it.