Senate Bill Would Permanently Overturn Mexico City Policy on Foreign Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 19, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Bill Would Permanently Overturn Mexico City Policy on Foreign Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 19
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Senate version of a federal spending bill controlling the State Department would make President Barack Obama’s decision to overturn the Mexico City Policy permanent. Obama overturned the policy during his first week in office and opened the door to funding groups that perform and promote abortions overseas.

Typically, the Mexico City Policy is an executive order that changes over time depending on whether a pro-life or pro-abortion advocate is in the White House.

While President George W. Bush prohibited the abortion funding, Obama immediately restored it.

Now, pro-abortion Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, has amended the Senate State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, S. 1434, with language making the overturning of the Mexico City Policy permanent.

Under his language, the only way to reverse it and restore the ban on funding the foreign work of pro-abortion groups and abortion businesses would be to pass a bill to do so or a bill with an amendment reversing the language. That would make it much more difficult to restore the Mexico City Policy.

Lautenberg’s amendment is making it so pro-life lawmakers and groups are prepared to vigorously oppose the Senate State Department bill. The amendment could trigger a filibuster in the Senate over the bill and pro-life organizations will likely pull out all the stops to urge it be defeated unless the pro-abortion amendment is removed.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, told Congressional Quarterly that a fierce battle is forthcoming if Lautenberg’s amendment remains.

“If the leadership want to use this as a vehicle to make a permanent change in the president’s authority and foreign policy, there are senators that are going to have a lot of other ideas … and maybe Sen. Reid should plan on spending a couple of weeks on this,” Johnson said, referring to a potential filibuster.

“Lautenberg has opened that door," the pro-life leader confirmed.

The House version of the State Department spending bill does not contain the Lautenberg language and, as a result, faced little opposition. It was approved on a 318-106 vote in July.

One concern is that the Senate will approve the bill with the pro-abortion amendment and House and Senate negotiators will have to decide whether or not to keep the language in place in the final bill both chambers would vote on before sending it to Obama.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Lautenberg amendment on a 17-11 vote with Democrats supporting it and Republicans in opposition.

A February Gallup poll found strong majority of Americans are upset that Obama would send their tax money overseas to perform and promote abortions.

It found 58 percent of Americans opposed Obama’s pro-abortion decision while just 35 percent supported it and 7 percent had no opinion.

Breaking down the new poll further, Gallup asked respondents to state their opinion on seven major actions President Obama has taken since becoming president. Overturning the Mexico City Policy engendered more opposition than any of the other actions and it had the lowest level of support.

The pro-abortion move also evoked the least support from Democrats and the most opposition from Republicans and independents.

While 59 percent of Democrats supported the move, it came in last among the seven total issues on which Gallup surveyed.

Only 8 percent of Republicans backed overturning the limits as did just 33 percent of the independent voters surveyed — with opposition higher about this action than any other Obama has taken a president.

ACTION: Contact your two U.S. senators and urge strong opposition to the Lautenberg amendment against the Mexico City Policy. Urge lawmakers to remove the amendment from the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill and to vote against the bill if it is not removed. Go to for contact information for your senators.

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