by Steven Ertelt
June 8, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A House subcommittee earlier this week approved language in a State Department funding bill that would essentially gut a policy of the Bush administration prohibiting sending taxpayer funds to groups that promote or perform abortions abroad.
The vote is intended to weaken the Mexico City Policy, President Bush reinstituted in January 2001 and first put in place by President Reagan.
Its goal is to stop taxpayer funding of abortions in other nations and to prevent money from going to groups that lobby other countries to overturn their pro-life laws banning abortions.
Rep. Nita Lowey, a pro-abortion New York Democrat who is the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the State Department and foreign aid, annually leads an effort to topple the pro-life policy.
She and other pro-abortion lawmakers approved language in the funding bill allowing the pro-abortion groups that have been denied the funds to receive donations of contraception at taxpayer expense to distribute in other countries.
Pro-life advocates say the language weakens the policy to the point of rendering it ineffective.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, agreed that the language guts the Mexico City Policy by allowing groups to get taxpayer funds as long as they use part of the money to promote contraception.
In other words, a group could get a grant for $100 million and use 90% of the money to promote or perform abortions and 10 percent to promote contraception and qualify under Lowey’s language.
"Congresswoman Lowey is claiming that her language would fund only contraception, but in fact its purpose and effect would be to restore tax funding to organizations that aggressively promote abortion as a method of birth control," Johnson told LifeNews.com.
"National Right to Life will strongly oppose this stealth attempt to promote abortion overseas, and we will work to sustain a veto of the entire bill if that becomes necessary."
The president has issued letters to top Democrats in the House and Senate warning that he will veto any spending bill with language overturning one of the various policies stopping taxpayer funding of abortions in a number of situations.
Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia told the Associated Press that he expects President Bush would make good on his veto threat.
Johnson told AP that Congressional leaders will have to determine whether they’re more in favor of abortion or passing the annual spending bills and warned that Bush would veto them and pro-life lawmakers would uphold the vetoes.
“That’s the judgment they have to make,” he said. “There are certainly sufficient votes to sustain a veto.”
The move to essentially scrap the pro-life policy brought support from NARAL a leading pro-abortion group. Nancy Keenan, president of the organization, called the language change a "partial repeal" of the Mexico City Policy.
The House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on the legislation next week, and the House could take it up in two weeks.