Congressional Battle on International Abortion Funding Continues After Cmte Vote

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 14, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congressional Battle on International Abortion Funding Continues After Cmte Vote Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 14
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — A battle over whether the federal government should spend taxpayer funds on groups that promote or perform abortions overseas continues after a House committee meeting on Tuesday. Lawmakers tackled two issues during the panel’s consideration of the State Department funding bill — the Mexico City Policy and a law concerning forced abortions.

The forced abortion law, known as Kemp-Kasten, has been on the books for years and prohibits the federal government from sending money to groups that participate in programs that coerce women into having abortions.

That has resulted in the Bush administration denying funding to the UNFPA because the UN agency has been involved in China’s family planning program, which allows couples to have only one child and has resulted in brutal forced abortion and sterilization campaigns.

Revoking UNFPA funding has angered pro-abortion groups and lawmakers and New York Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey put language in the State Department bill that would have made it more difficult for the Bush administration to deny UNFPA the funds by making it do more to prove the agency’s involvement in the China program.

During the Appropriations Committee meeting Tuesday, pro-life Rep. Dave Weldon, a Florida Republican, offered corrective language that removes the Lowey provision.

His amendment made it clear that “nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the President to deny funds to any organization by reason of the application of another provision of this Act or any other provision of law.”

However, the bill still contains a second Lowey provision that overturns President Bush’s policy protecting taxpayers from having to fund groups that promote or perform abortions abroad — known as the Mexico City Policy.

The Lowey language changes the policy in a way that essentially overturns it by allowing pro-abortion groups to receive federal funds as long as they spend part of the money on promoting contraception as well.

Unless the language is changed to restore the Mexico City Policy fully, President Bush has threatened to veto the State Department funding bill. He indicated he would veto any other spending measure as well that overturns current federal laws prohibiting the taxpayer funding of abortion in various circumstances.

Rep. Weldon will likely offer an amendment on the House floor next week that would restore the pro-life policy and the House is expected to take up the State Department legislation on June 20.

President Reagan first instituted the Mexico City Policy during his administration and has continued through the administrations of other Republican presidents. President Clinton rescinded the policy during his eight years in office.