Saving Mexico City: Pro-Life Lobbying Salvages Attempt to Restore Abortion Limits
by Steven Ertelt
December 11, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Candidate Barack Obama promised the abortion lobby that, upon his ascendancy to the presidency, he would follow Bill Clinton’s lead and ditch the Mexico City Policy. Obama scrapped the abortion limit and his allies in Congress could have made that permanent if not for some intense lobbying.
The Mexico City Policy is the pro-life protection President Ronald Reagan put in place in the 1980s after a population conference in the Mexican capital.
The measure makes it so taxpayers are not forced to fund groups through U.S. family planning programs that perform or promote abortions in other nations.
Planned Parenthood and the British-based Marie Stopes International abortion business has received the funds and refused to stop doing abortions or lobbying nations to throw out their pro-life laws so they could receive the funding the policy banned.
Every time the presidency changes hands from a pro-life to a pro-abortion advocate, the policy, issued via executive order, is overturned or restored.
After Obama forced taxpayers to finance the abortion agenda, his friends in Congress — sensing a rare opportunity after an election that gave them ironclad control over Congress — sought to make his executive order permanent.
By putting Obama’s mandate into federal law, a pro-life president potentially defeating Obama in 2012 could not go into office the next year and undo his decision. Only by Congress approving a new law could the Mexico City Policy be restored — a monumental uphill battle given the losing votes in Congress earlier this year in an attempt to restore it.
Led by pro-abortion Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New jersey Democrat, abortion advocates snuck such a law into the the Senate State, Foreign Operations bill.
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Lautenberg amendment on a 17-11 vote with Democrats supporting it and Republicans in opposition.
The House version of the same bill did not include the Lautenberg amendment, but it was added to the omnibus bill a conference committee approved earlier this week.
Leading pro-life advocates in the Senate wasted no time in telling leaders in Congress that they would filibuster the bill with the language overturning the Mexico City Policy attached.
Ironically, while Lautenberg debated keeping massive abortion funding in the government-run health care bill, Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life helped get the provision removed from the omnibus.
"While Sen. Lautenberg was on the Senate floor speaking against the Nelson-Hatch Amendment, and demonstrating his inability to distinguish between taking a pill to improve sexual performance and dismembering an unborn human being, National Right to Life was hard at work deep-sixing Lautenberg’s amendment to create an entitlement for overseas groups that promote abortion," Johnson told LifeNews.com on Thursday.
"That effort was successful — the Lautenberg Amendment (which would have operated as a permanent ban on a pro-life policy such as the Mexico City Policy) was dropped by conferees from the omnibus appropriations bill," he said.
On Wednesday, Lautenberg complained about the development.
I’m disappointed any time an opportunity to advance womens rights is missed, and will continue fighting to permanently repeal the Mexico City policy," he told Congressional Quarterly.
Attempts to make overturning the Mexico City Policy federal law will likely continue into 2010, but pro-life advocates can help their case by electing more pro-life members of Congress in next year’s elections.
If Lautenberg ever succeeds, he will do so at odds with public opinion.
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.
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