by Steven Ertelt
September 12, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Democrats who take a strong stand against abortion are few and far between — especially in the United States Senate. When Bob Casey defeated Rick Santorum for a Pennsylvania seat in the Senate pro-life advocates hoped Casey would vote the same as his predecessor; but, Casey cast his first pro-abortion vote last week.
Last Thursday, the Senate debate an amendment to a bill sponsored by pro-abortion Sen. Barbara Boxer of California regarding the Mexico City Policy.
Boxer’s amendment overturns the policy that President Reagan first instituted and President Bush revived in 2001 that protects taxpayers from funding groups that perform or promote abortions overseas.
Pro-life groups strongly opposed the Boxer Amendment, but it was adopted on a 53-41 vote. Just 20 minutes later, pro-life Sen. Sam Brownback offered an amendment to undo the Boxer amendment but senators defeated it by the same margin.
Casey voted for the Boxer amendment and but also for the Brownback amendment — taking a seemingly contradicting stand on the abortion funding issue.
On Monday, as David Freddoso of National Review notes, Casey said on the Senate floor that he had made a mistake — but not because he voted to fund foreign abortions and abortion advocacy.
He said that, on the pro-life Brownback amendment, “it was my intention to vote ‘nay.’ Therefore, I ask unanimous consent that I be permitted to change my vote since it will not affect the outcome of that vote.”
LifeNews.com asked Casey staff members for comment for this story but have not yet received a response.
However, Casey spokesman Larry Smar talked with NR’s Freddoso and claimed the senator has not changed his position on abortion or funding it.
“He does not support public funding of abortion,” Smar said. “The amendment he voted for would not allow public funding of abortion, which is illegal” under another provision.
Freddoso calls this answer "disingenuous."
"The Boxer amendment does not put money directly into grants for providing abortions, but it funds groups that perform and refer them. Since money is fungible — that is, it can be used for anything — there is really no difference," he writes.
"That is why this amendment was so controversial, and why other pro-life senators — including Sen. Ben Nelson (a Nebraska Democrat) — voted against it, and have voted against it in all of its many incarnations over the years," he added.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for National Right to Life, told LifeNews.com he agreed.
"Before the adoption of the Mexico City Policy, the U.S. government was the major funder of organizations that campaigned to legalize abortion in Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere," he said.
"If the Boxer Amendment, which Sen. Casey regrettably supported, was enacted, it would force the removal of family planning funds from private organizations that stick to non-abortive methods, in order to give those funds to organizations that are committed to the promotion of abortion," Johnson explained.
Freddoso says that pro-life advocates must ask whether they can consider Casey one of their own after he voted to send taxpayer funds to groups that do abortions in other nations and lobby to topple their pro-life laws.
ACTION: Make your views known about Senator Casey’s vote by going to https://casey.senate.gov/contact.cfm.