US Senate to Maintain Funding for Overseas Abortion, Population Reduction*

US Senate to Maintain Funding for Overseas Abortion, Population Reduction*

There… it couldn’t be clearer, abortion is a form of eugenics. The fewer people the easier it to control…

The U.S. foreign aid policy blocking funding for groups that perform or promote abortion overseas has long been a political football, alternately instated and rescinded by different presidential administrations. A recent effort to codify the restriction – known as the Mexico City Policy – into law hit a wall in a U.S. Senate committee last week.

Last year, the Republican Party took control of the Senate for the first time since 2007. When it came time to draft an appropriations bill on foreign operations, the Senators included language that would prohibit U.S. funding to groups overseas that perform or promote abortion. The bill also proposed a cap on funding for population reduction programs, which would reduce their annual allocation by almost $200 million. Funding to the controversial United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was cut due to its complicity in China’s one-child policy. The House of Representatives, also under Republican control, drafted a counterpart bill containing similar provisions.

At the appropriations hearing, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen introduced an amendment that stripped the pro-life policy provisions from the bill, removed the funding cap on contraception, and restored funding to UNFPA. The Shaheen amendment passed by a 17-13 vote due to three defecting Republican senators – Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Republican Senators will not likely bring this compromised bill to the floor for a vote, in which case the status quo will be maintained through a continuing resolution or an omnibus bill as it has been since President Obama took office.

The Mexico City Policy, first introduced under Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984, has been enacted by executive order under subsequent Republican presidents and removed under Democratic administrations for three decades.

Direct foreign aid funding for abortions is prohibited by U.S. law under the Helms Amendment, which was adopted in 1973 and remains in effect. However, groups receiving U.S. aid can still perform and promote abortions provided they keep funding sources separate. By entirely blocking U.S. funding for abortion-promoting groups operating internationally, the Mexico City Policy provides additional pro-life protections.

In the committee mark-up Senator Shaheen, the recipient of $1 million in campaign money from abortion groups, cited a World Health Organization publication to argue that the Mexico City Policy led to increased abortions overseas. However, the 2011 study relied on indirect measures of abortion rates and employed a questionable method of grouping countries based on their “exposure” to the Mexico City policy.

Senator Lindsey Graham, ranking member for the State and Foreign Operations appropriations subcommittee, told his colleagues

“[The Senate bill] will not be accepted by the House,” he said.

Recognizing that an overwhelming number of Americans oppose funding abortions, Sen. Graham stated that the rescinding of the Mexico City policy “takes public tax-payer dollars in an area with most Americans do not wish it to go.”

Even in a Republican-controlled Congress, pro-life language in appropriations bills faces an uphill battle, since President Obama would likely veto any legislation containing it. Pro-life U.S. legislators have repeatedly attempted to permanently codify the Mexico City Policy provisions in law, even as pro-abortion legislators have attempted to permanently remove them, but without control of both chambers of Congress as well as the Presidency, neither side is likely to claim an outright victory.


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