On the Congressional front, once again the issue of protecting human life is front and center as Congress returns and legislative efforts intensify.
The new majority in Congress has clearly made advocating for abortion one of its highest priorities. The attacks on the innocent unborn have been relentless, including an effort to codify Roe v. Wade and subtle attempts to use more of your taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
The very day after the Supreme Court correctly upheld the Congressional ban on Partial Birth Abortion, prominent members led by Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Jerrold Nadler introduced the Freedom of Choice Act. If enacted, this measure would permanently codify Roe v. Wade, and would prohibit Congress from enacting any legislation to restrict abortion in any way. Not only is this a shameless attack on life, but also a brazen disregard for the authority granted to Congress by our Founding Fathers.
Fortunately, this effort does not appear to have the support of a majority of Members in either chamber, but that is not stopping abortion advocates from pushing their agenda during the 110th Congress. Right now there are many much more subtle efforts that are not only gaining traction, but actually appear heading for enactment that would expand the practice of abortion here in the United States and abroad.
At the same time, the federal funding of Planned Parenthood through the Title X account (already funded at $283 million) is being increased. The House Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations Subcommittee has already approved a $28 million increase for Title X, and the full committee is considering an even larger increase. Should this increase be enacted, the largest abortion provider in the world Planned Parenthood stands to be the main beneficiary.
Right now, the abortion advocates in Congress are using the appropriations process to change U.S. policy on taxpayer funding of abortions. The Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that has been approved by the House and is now being considered by the Senate has two especially troubling provisions.
Most troubling is that this measure guts the pro-life Mexico City provision. This language, originally put in place by President Reagan, states that in order to be eligible for taxpayer funding from the U.S., international entities must confirm that they do not participate in or support abortion as a method of family planning. Under the new language, all a group has to do is include a contraceptive component with their proposal to be exempt from Mexico City. If approved by the Senate and signed into law, the Mexico City language will be rendered powerless. Fortunately, President Bush has stated that he will veto any bill with this language in it.
Second, current policy on a very similar issue known as the Kemp-Kasten provision states that the President has the authority to rescind U.S. funding for any foreign entity found to support or participate in coercive abortion. The Senate Appropriations Committee is now considering a change to this provision that would also render it nearly useless. By only prohibiting the DIRECT funding of such entities, the language would open a giant loophole in which money could simply be funneled through an intermediary to the entity actually engaging in coercive abortion.
This language appears to have been written expressly for the benefit of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which has in recent years had its U.S. funding rescinded due to its participation in Chinas one-child policy. If the newly drafted Senate language is enacted, UNFPA will again receive funding, and Chinas coercive abortion policy will be funded by U.S. taxpayers, including you and me.
As you already know, the ACLJ is committed to engaging in these behind-the-scenes battles. It is these battles that shape the majority of U.S. policy, and while we will all continue to fight on the larger issues that grab the attention of the American people, we will also continue to stand up for what is right in the midst of these less publicized debates. As always, we will keep you posted on further developments.
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