Battle Over Taxpayer Funds to Pro-Abortion International Groups Continues

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 7, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Battle Over Taxpayer Funds to Pro-Abortion International Groups Continues Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 7,

Washington, DC ( — A letter signed by several Democrats, including a couple of lawmakers known for their pro-life positions, seeks family planning funds for groups that perform or promote abortions overseas. If the representatives get their wish, it would weaken the Mexico City Policy and likely draw a veto from President Bush.

The president put the policy back in place on his first day in office in 2001 and it prevents forcing taxpayers to fund international groups that engage in abortion in other nations.

Bush has threatened to veto any bill that weakens or overturns the policy, but that hasn’t prevented a handful of Democrats from asking their party’s leadership to allow a change in it.

The lawmakers issued a letter Wednesday asking that language not be removed from the State-Foreign Operations spending bill (HR 2764) that would have the federal government send money to family planning groups that do abortions to pay for condom distribution.

The letter argues that “increasing access to contraception is critical to efforts to reduce the number of abortions, both domestically and overseas," according to a Congressional Quarterly report.

Signers of the letter include pro-life Reps. James Oberstar of Minnesota and Jim Langevin of Rhode Island as well as pro-abortion Reps. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, Henry Cuellar of Texas.

Langevin told CQ that pro-abortion and pro-life lawmakers are coming together, but other leading pro-life advocates dispute the notion.

Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, said the language is pro-abortion because it funds abortion-promoting groups and added that NRLC hopes it will be dropped before the bill is sent to President Bush.

"Any omnibus that contains language to weaken an existing pro-life policy is likely to face great difficulties in the Senate, and also would face a threatened veto," Johnson said.

And he appears correct, as Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican and leading pro-life advocate in the Senate, told the same thing.

“I would be very disappointed if members in the House attempt to pass funding bills which threaten long-standing pro-life policy,” Brownback said.

“If they do include abortion funding in the omnibus bill, it will face significant hurdles in the Senate and likely face a presidential veto," Brownback added. "I encourage my colleagues in the House to focus on finishing pending appropriations bills instead of trying to export pro-abortion policies to other countries.”

The House next week is expected to consider passage of an omnibus appropriations bill.