Senate Overturns Bush Policy Preventing Taxpayer-Funded Intl Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
September 10, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Senate last week voted to overturn a policy President Bush instituted on his first day in office in 2001 that protects taxpayers from funding international abortions. Senators voted to overturn the Mexico City Policy that prevents tax funds from going to groups that promote or perform abortions overseas.
The vote occurred during the debate of the State Department/Foreign Operations appropriations bill for the next fiscal year.
Senator Barbara Boxer, a pro-abortion California Democrat, sponsored an amendment that the Senate approved on a 53-41 vote.
President Bush has already promised he would veto the bill if it nullified his abortion policy.
Deirdre McQuade, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told LifeNews.com she appreciated the president’s willingness to veto the bill over the provision to fund abortions.
“We are very grateful to the President for his commitment to these basic, long-standing policies protecting both mother and child," she said. "We hope and expect that, due to his pledge and the pledge by many members of Congress to uphold such a veto, the Mexico City Policy will be preserved in law this year.”
Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, also supported President Bush’s resolve.
"We applaud President Bush for consistently putting innocent human life first–even when it means postponing legislation that his administration wants passed," he said.
The Senate also voted last week by a 48-45 vote to approve an amendment by Senator Sam Brownback, a pro-life Kansas Republican running for president, to restore the "Kemp-Kasten Amendment" deleted from the bill in committee.
Since 1985, this provision has denied U.S. funds to any organization or program that, as determined by the president, supports or promotes forced abortions in other nations.
"I commend the Senate for refusing to participate in such atrocities against vulnerable women and their children in the developing world," McQuade told LifeNews.com. "At the same time, it is disconcerting to think that this was considered debatable at all – and that the vote was so close."
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.
New York Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey put language in the State Department bill on the House side 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.
But, in June, 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, like the Senate’s vote last week, overturns 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.
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.