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U.S. House Backs President Bush in Denying Funds to Overseas Groups That Promote Abortion Legalization

May 16, 2001 | 2001 Press Releases

WASHINGTON — The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the nation’s major pro-life organization, commended today’s action by the U.S. House of Representatives in reaffirming President Bush’s policy against funding overseas organizations that perform abortions or that seek to legalize abortion as a method of birth control.

By a vote of 218-210, the House removed language from the State Department authorization bill (H.R. 1646) that would have overturned the pro-life “Mexico City Policy,” which President Bush recently reinstated. In a written communication to the House on May 8, the White House said that the entire bill would be vetoed unless the pro-abortion language was removed.

“The House wisely decided not to send tax dollars to groups that campaign to legalize abortion as a birth control method in Latin America and Africa,” commented NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

The Mexico City Policy requires that in order to be eligible for funding under the U.S. population-control aid program, private overseas organizations must agree not to perform abortions (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest), and not to “actively promote abortion as a method of family planning” — for example, by campaigning to weaken or repeal the pro-life laws of foreign nations.

The laws in effect in most of Latin America, much of Africa, and some other developing nations protect the right to life of unborn children. During the Clinton Administration, U.S. funds were directed heavily to organizations that campaign to remove these laws, notably the London headquarters of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). The IPPF Strategic Plan Vision 2000 calls on IPPF affiliates to “increase the right of access to safe, legal abortion,” and “to bring pressure on governments to remove barriers to access.” The Mexico City Policy has no effect whatever on the overall level of funding for the “population assistance” program, because when a group declines to accept funds because of the pro-life policy, those funds are directed to another group willing to avoid abortion-promoting activities.