by Steven Ertelt
June 17, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The House will vote soon on a pro-life amendment to a federal spending bill that helps ensure taxpayers don’t have to fund groups that promote or perform abortions overseas. Pro-life lawmakers have been working at the committee level to try to stop abortion funding and the House will vote as early as June 20 on the amendment.
Representatives Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, and Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, are behind the bipartisan amendment to the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill.
Their language is needed because pro-abortion Rep. Nita Lowey put language in the bill overturning President Bush’s policy preventing the taxpayer funding of abortions. Her measure allowed pro-abortion groups to get federal funds as long as they also promote the use of contraception.
Bush put the Mexico City Policy in place on his first day in office in 2001, restoring an administrative policy that Presidents Reagan and Bush employed in the 1980s and President Clinton revoked. The policy ensures that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) can’t give financial assistance to an overseas organization because that organization promotes abortion as a method of family planning.
Pro-life organizations strongly support the Mexico City Policy and are encouraging members of Congress to support the Smith-Stupak amendment to remove the Lowey language from the bill.
The National Right to Life Committee says the Lowey language gutting the policy would “allow even the most aggressively pro-abortion groups to be eligible for U.S. assistance” and that “any group that is performing abortions or actively promoting abortion abroad should not be eligible for U.S. assistance.”
The vote on the amendment could happen this week. The House is currently scheduled to take up the bill before the end of June, and it could occur as early as June 20 and will almost certainly occur before the end of the month.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the Right to Life group, previously told LifeNews.com about how the Lowey language guts Bush’s pro-life policy.
He said 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.
Lawmakers on a House Appropriations committee last week reversed another pro-abortion attempt to fund abortions when they upheld the strength of 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 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 last 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.”
ACTION: Call any member of the House at 202-224-3121 and urge strong support for the Smith-Stupak amendment to stop international abortion funding. Go to https://www.House/gov to find more specific contact information for your representative.