by Steven Ertelt
July 21, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — As he has in the past, President Bush reminded Senate lawmakers this week that he will veto a foreign aid bill if it includes language overturning his policy against funding groups that perform or promote abortions in other countries.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has been working on the FY 2006 State Department funding measure, but it has included language overturning the Mexico City Policy, used to keep taxpayer funds from promoting abortions.
The White House told committee members that Bush "does not support Senate
passage" of the bill "in its current form because it includes provisions that would overturn the
Administration’s family planning policy (commonly known as the "Mexico City" policy)."
"The President would veto the bill if it were presented to him with such provisions," the White House warned.
The Bush administration also expressed the president’s concern that language in the bill would "weaken the Kemp-Kasten provision in current law." That’s a statute that prevents the federal government from giving support to groups that engage in or support forced abortions, as happen in China and North Korea.
Pia de Solenni, director of life and women’s issues for the Family Research Council, told Focus on the Family that the White House statement to lawmakers sends a strong message.
"These are the people that decide where we spend our money," she said, "and they are being told clearly that spending money on abortion is not a valid option."
De Solenni indicated that third world countries have more important worries than making sure women can have abortions.
"If we are talking about developing countries that have problems, their issues are issues of internal development, economic structure, and education," she said. "And abortion doesn’t really play into that, on top of the fact that it is the destruction of an innocent human life."
This isn’t the first time the president has tangled with the Senate over the Mexico City Policy.
In April, the Senate voted 52-46 to scrap the policy through an amendment sponsored by California Democrat Barbara Boxer. Because of pro-life election gains in 2004, the vote was closer than ever before.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews.com at the time that the Senate will not ultimately win on the issues because the House opposes using tax funds for international abortions and because Bush would veto any bill doing that.
During the Bush administration, lawmakers have normally axed the Senate provision out of the final bill in a conference committee before sending it to the president.
On his first day in office during his first term, President George W. Bush signed an executive order reinstating 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.