by Steven Ertelt
June 21, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Voters last November decided to give abortion advocates control of Congress and the results of those elections came to bear on Thursday. That’s because the House of Representatives voted 218-205 to overturn a policy of President Bush that prohibits international abortion funding.
One his first day in office, the president restored a pro-life policy that had been in place under Presidents Reagan and Bush and rescinded by President Clinton.
Known as the Mexico City Policy, the provision prevents taxpayer dollars from going to groups that promote or perform abortions in other countries.
Rep. Nita Lowey, a pro-abortion New York Democrat, added language to the State Department appropriations bill that overturned the policy.
Reps. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, and Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, led a bipartisan effort to remove the Lowey language and restore the Mexico City provisions. Their effort failed by 13 votes.
Smith decried the vote — which came not on making abortion illegal but simply protecting Americans who don’t want their money paying for it.
"Someday, future generations of Americans will look back on us and wonder how-and why-such a rich and seemingly enlightened society, so blessed and endowed with the capacity to protect and enhance vulnerable human life, could have instead, so aggressively promoted death to children by abortion," he said.
"They will note that we prided ourselves on our human rights rhetoric and record while precluding all protection to the most persecuted minority in the world today — unborn babies," Smith added.
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.
However, Smith said that, foreign nations continue to receive millions of dollars annually on contraception through family planning programs Congress continues to increase.
Despite the vote, President Bush has vowed to veto the spending bill because it overturns his policies on prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortions.
With such a close vote, it’s likely that pro-life lawmakers may be able to muster enough votes to sustain the veto and to force Democratic leaders to rework the bill without abortion funding.
Pro-life groups strongly pushed for the vote to affirm the Mexico City Policy.
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.”
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.