Pro-Life Group has Abstinence, Abortion Concerns on PEPFAR Funding Bill
by Steven Ertelt
July 14, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading pro-life group still has concerns about the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding bill. After voting on Friday to proceed with consideration of the funding package, the Senate is taking up the bill and the Family Research Council has abortion and abstinence concerns.
The measure is a $50 billion reauthorization of President Bush’s plan to help African nations that continue to see a sizable AIDS epidemic.
The House approved its version of the measure earlier this year, but FRC president Tony Perkins says pro-life senators like Jim DeMint of South Carolina are working to keep pro-life provisions in the bill and pro-abortion provisions out.
The good news, Perkins tells LifeNews.com, is the Senate measure "keeps in place the heavy emphasis on abstinence and fidelity in HIV/AIDS prevention, which have not only been the most ethical approach but, as many African leaders have affirmed, the most effective."
The bill also keeps in place the conscience protections that are important for pro-life groups.
"If the bill passes in its current form, the ABC approach (abstinence, be faithful, and condoms for behavioral-change-resistant populations) would almost certainly live on into the next president’s term," Perkins explained.
But what concerns DeMint, Perkins and other pro-life advocates is a $2 billion annual donation to the Global Fund to support coercive abortions and sterilization.
"We are also troubled by the absence of a House provision that could be used to limit HIV/AIDS funding only to family planning clinics that do not promote or perform abortion," Perkins added.
"If so many American tax dollars must be spent overseas, they should go to programs that promote pro-life policies," Perkins said.
As the bill moves forward with amendments and a final vote, Perkins is asking Americans to contact their senators and urge support for the existing pro-abstinence provisions and opposition to the pro-abortion sections he highlighted.
The Senate started the bill today and Republicans will have a small amount of time to offer amendments to the bill.
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