by Steven Ertelt
May 30, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The House Appropriations Committee last week voted on a foreign aid measure that increase the taxpayer funds spent on family planning programs. The bill also retains President Bush’s Mexico City Policy, which prohibits the use of taxpayer funds to pay for or promote abortions in other nations.
The committee approved the 2007 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill on a voice vote.
Under the measure, the Mexico City Policy would stay in place, despite objections from abortion advocates. On his first day as president in 2001, Bush signed an executive order putting the policy back in place after former President Bill Clinton removed it.
The policy stripped $15 million alone from International Planned Parenthood.
Bush later expanded it to cover all State Department funding and not just funds from the USAID program. He has threatened to veto any foreign aid bill that overturns his policy and includes the abortion funding.
Under the committee-approved bill, individual countries would receive $432 million in international family planning funding. That’s an increase from the $425 million annually they currently receive.
Since 2001, the president has frozen the level of family planning funding at $425 million annually — the amount funded in the last year of the Clinton administration. That was done as federal funding of most other budget areas increased.
With the president’s new budget, family planning funds had been slashed 18 percent to $357 million, but the committee chose to increase that amount.
Ed Fox, an official at the United States Agency for International Development, said the president wanted more emphasis to be placed on funding programs that provide greater benefit for women — such as combating AIDS and malaria.
Fox also pointed to a $21 million program to help women in Afghanistan combat sexual abuse.
Despite President Bush’s progress in stopping international funding for abortion, other nation’s are picking up the slack.
In February, Britain announced it would send $4.5 million to Planned Parenthood to fund abortions and abortion promotion and the British agency earmarking the money said it was done specifically in response to Bush’s policies.