WASHINGTON – Anti-abortion and pro-abstinence advocates were dealt a series of blows Thursday following decisions by the House that included allowing federal funding to pro-abortion groups overseas, lifting a ban on providing contraception overseas, and blocking federal funding for abstinence education.
In a 218-205 vote, the House failed to approve a bipartisan amendment to protect the pro-life Mexico City policy, which prohibits federal tax dollars from supporting organizations that perform or promote abortion as family planning.
"The cry of congressional liberals was, 'Make sure foreign abortion providers get American taxpayers' money!" said Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst of Focus on the Family Action, according to Citizenlink. "Well, today that's what happened."
The House review of the foreign aid spending bill also concluded in the reversal of the ban on contraception aid to groups overseas. Although the decision does not directly change the Mexico City policy since no funds are transferred, pro-life advocates argue that giving contraceptives to these groups will free up their resources to provide abortion.
Adding to the string of defeats, the House also struck down an amendment to channel some of the funding from PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) toward abstinence education during their consideration of the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill. The amendment would have set aside 33 percent spending directive for abstinence-until-marriage programs under the five-year $15 billion plan for AIDS.
"Once again, liberals shirked hard evidence in favor of political correctness," said Horne. "It's been proven that abstinence education works as a part of the ABC program (Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms as a last resort) when the infection is in the generalized population. This change in PEPFAR could skyrocket infection rates."
The bill with the amendments still needs to pass the Senate, after which it awaits the decision of President Bush.
Earlier this week, Bush had stated he will veto any bill that seeks to weaken current federal policies and laws on abortion. The president is expected to veto the bill in its current form.