Democrats Float Bill to Ban Pro-Life Mexico City Policy

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 22, 2011   |   12:21PM   |   Washington, DC

Democrats in the U.S. Senate have introduced new legislation to permanently ban the pro-life Mexico City Policy, which prevents the federal government from funding international groups that promote and perform abortions.

The policy, which President Barack Obama ditched during his first week in office, has been in place when pro-life Republican presidents have held office — starting with Ronald Reagan — and has been revoked by pro-abortion Democrats Obama and Bill Clinton.

Planned Parenthood is one of the major recipients of millions of dollars through the State Department and the USAID program and the abortion business refused to stop doing abortions or lobbying other nations to change their pro-life laws during the Bush administration so it could receive funds for non-abortion family planning services.

A House committee approved legislation that would restore the policy, but pro-abortion Senators Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, and Frank Lautenberg, a New jersey Democrat, have introduced the so-called Global Democracy Promotion Act, that would permanently ban what Boxer derisively calls the “Global Gag Rule,” because it prohibits abortion businesses from promoting abortion on the taxpayer dime.

“If the Global Gag Rule were applied in the United States, it would violate the First Amendment because it restricts what organizations can do or say with their own funds.  Ending this undemocratic policy is long overdue,” she said, although courts have not found the Mexico City Policy to be unconstitutional on that charge.

Senator Lautenberg also plans to offer an amendment to the FY2012 Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill next week that he has put forward in previous years.

The bill, which would not expected to be approved in the House, has the backing of the Planned Parenthood abortion business, which is enjoying the revenue stream from the federal government for its foreign activities that Obama turned back on.

Latanya Mapp Frett, Vice President – Global, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement, “Planned Parenthood commends Senators Barbara Boxer and Frank R. Lautenberg for introducing the Global Democracy Promotion Act in the Senate.  This bill would once and for all end the global gag rule and the harmful limits it once imposed.”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey, a pro-abortion new York Democrat, recently introduced the same bill in the House. Several pro-abortion senators joined Boxer and Lautenberg in signing on as co-sponsors of the pro-abortion funding bill in the Senate, including: John Kerry (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NY).

Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill restoring the Mexico City Policy as Republicans turned back an effort from Democrats to strike the language on a 25-17 vote. However, abortion advocates are expected to offer an amendment on the House floor to strike the language.

The policy has been a central tenant of pro-life foreign policy during Republican administrations, but pro-abortion presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both scrapped it during their first weeks in office. The policy, first named for a conference in Mexico City where pro-life President Ronald Reagan announced it, ensures taxpayer dollars don’t flow through international family planning programs to organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which claims to have done in hundreds of thousands of abortions worldwide.

Despite Obama and Senate Democrats holding up the pro-life policy, Republicans have made inroads into cutting the international pro-abortion agenda.

In April, pro-life Speaker John Boehner secured an budget agreement that, in part, cuts funding to the pro-abortion UNFPA (United Nations Family Planning Agency) that has worked hand-in-hand with Chinese population control officials who have enforced the one-child rule with forced abortions and other human rights abuses. Republicans trimmed funding for the agency from the $55 million President Barack Obama put in place to $40 million.

The bill also cut international population control and family planning funding to $575 million from the $648 million Congress authorized in 2010. That’s less money for the pro-abortion groups without the Mexico City Policy.

In July, the nation’s Catholic bishops called on Congress to restore the policy and make further cuts.

The letter from Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services, went to the top Republican and leading Democrat on the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. In the letter, USCCB and CRS affirm strong support for restoring the Mexico City Policy and they support denying funding to the U.N. Population Fund.

“The USCCB, CRS, and many others in the faith community … stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that … promotes human life and dignity,” Bishop Hubbard and Hackett say in the letter.

“As you consider appropriations language, we strongly support restoring the Mexico City Policy against funding groups that perform or promote abortion, and denying funding to the U.N. Population Fund which supports a program of coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization in China,” they add. “It is also important to preserve the Helms Amendment, prohibiting U.S. funding for abortion, and the Kemp-Kasten provision, prohibiting support of organizations involved in programs of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”

In September 2003, President George W. Bush expanded the Mexico City Policy and issued an executive memo making it clear that the pro-life policy applies to federal funding of all population programs funded by the State Department — even if they are not funded through USAID.

Another pro-life law, called Kemp-Kasten, prohibits the federal government from funding involuntary population programs.