Republicans Stop Pro-Abortion Omnibus Bill as Reid Pulls It

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 17, 2010   |   12:26PM   |   Washington, DC

Late Thursday, pro-abortion Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave up on trying to pass the 1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that contains numerous goodies for the abortion industry.

After realizing Republicans were unified in opposition to the measure and had enough votes to sustain a filibuster against it, Reid pulled the legislation.

The move results in yanking more than $1 billion in funding for implementation of the ObamaCare health care law that could result in massive abortion funding.

Reid has assumed that as many as nine Republicans would support the omnibus measure but they withdrew their support for various reasons after pressure from fellow Republican senators and organizations worried about both the abortion concerns and fiscal issues.

“Though some of my Republican colleagues in recent days have publicly distanced themselves from the idea that [their] members have a role to play in the appropriations process, nearly all of them did nothing privately to withdraw their priorities from this bill,” Reid complained.

But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said GOP lawmakers opposed the bill because they had little time to review the nearly 2,000 pages.

“This is the first time in modern history that not a single appropriation bill went across the floor of the Senate. Not one,” McConnell said. “And so the Appropriations Committee members on a bipartisan basis did, indeed, do their job. The problem was the full Senate didn’t do its job. And so what we ended up with, Mr. President, was this, this almost 2,000-page omnibus appropriation bill which we only got…yesterday.

“And this is precisely the kind of thing the American people have gotten tired of,” McConnell added.

The FY11 omnibus undermined the prohibition on abortion funding in the District of Columbia, which Democrats overturned last year to fund abortions in Washington for the first time in many years. Because Congress approves all D.C. appropriations it can determine whether tax dollars can pay for abortions or not.

The legislation allocated $327 million for the Title X Family Planning Program which provides funding to groups like Planned Parenthood. This is a $10 million increase over last year and a $44 million increase over the last four years.

The omnibus also allocated $710 million for international family planning/reproductive health which provides funding to organizations that promote and perform abortion overseas. This is a $62 million increase over last year and a $270 million increase over the last four years.

Further, the appropriations bill established an Office of Global Women’s Issues at the department of State headed by an Ambassador-at-Large, and the position of Gender Integration and Development Advisor at USAID. In prior efforts to establish these positions and offices, pro-life leaders have expressed concern that the offices will support international efforts to promote abortion.

Also, new language added to the gender-based violence section directed the Secretary of State to ensure international aid programs are consistent with United Nations Security Council resolutions 1820 and 1888. These resolutions affirm the CEDAW Convention which the U.S. has not ratified and pro-life groups oppose because CEDAW provisions have been interpreted as grounds to overturn pro-life laws. 

The omnibus presented a bit of good news for pro-life advocates in that it does not include the pro-abortion Lautenberg amendment which was in the State, Foreign Operations bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year.

The Lautenberg amendment would have amended the Foreign Assistance Act to prohibit all future administrations from implementing the Mexico City Policy, which President Barack Obama overturned in 2009 during his first week in office, that prohibits sending taxpayer dollars to groups that promote or perform abortions.

And the omnibus contained the pro-life Smith amendment on abortion funding for federal employees which was omitted in the Financial Services bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year. It is language pro-life advocates hoped to include in the ObamaCare bill that ensure the insurance programs for federal employees can’t pay for abortions with tax dollars.