Congressional Committee Won’t Limit Obama’s Women’s Office’s Abortion Agenda

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 21, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congressional Committee Won’t Limit Obama’s Women’s Office’s Abortion Agenda

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 21
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A Congressional committee on Wednesday refused to adopt an amendment to a foreign affairs bill that would limit the pro-abortion agenda of the new international women’s office President Barack Obama created.

Pro-life advocates are concerned that the office will promote abortion in other nations, some of which have longstanding pro-life laws and culture.

In March, President Obama created the Office of Global Women’s Issues to coordinate efforts “relating to gender integration and women’s empowerment.” He then appointed Melanne Verveer, an abortion advocate who served as chief of staff to former First Lady Hillary Clinton, to head the new post.

While such an office could engage in pro-woman activities across the globe, it will likely push abortion as an international right, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for in a recent Congressional hearing.

Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved H.R. 2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which contains language authorizing the new office.

To limit its likely abortion advocacy, Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, offered an amendment that would have replaced the language authorizing the office with new language allowing its creation but instructing it to carry out numerous noncontroversial and non-abortion initiatives to help women.

“It is absolutely imperative that women never be regarded or reduced to the status of objects or second-class citizens,” Smith said. “The same is true, I would respectfully submit to my colleagues, of unborn children.”

The amendment also added a clarifying statement of policy intended to prevent the office from being used to lobby for the legalization of abortion in pro-life nations.

Rep. Howard Berman, a pro-abortion California Democrat who is the chairman of the committee, opposed the amendment it failed on a party line vote of 22-17 with Democrats opposing it and Republicans supporting it.

Had Democrats voted for the amendment, they would have supported the office helping women with education, job training, health care and equal pay for equal work instead of abortion.

Therefore the original authorization for an Office of Global Women’s Issues without any pro-life clarifying language remains in the bill that will likely go to the full House of Representatives for consideration in the coming weeks.

ACTION: Find the members of the committee at and tell them what you thought of their vote on the Smith amendment.

Related web sites:
Watch Rep. Smith talk about the bill and his amendment –

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