The pro-abortion Congress (no surprise here) is seeking to gut the "Mexico City Policy," which prevents the International Planned Parenthood Federation and other overseas pro-abortion groups from feeding at the federal trough. But will they succeed?
Mexico City Under Fire
The Mexico City Policy is under fire in Congress . . . again.
Last month, the House of Representatives, at the instigation of Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) voted 223-201 to pass a bill seeking to gut the Mexico City Policy. This Reagan-era policy prohibits American tax dollars from going to abortion-performing organizations in other countries. Pro-abortion organizations, which have lost hundreds of millions of dollars on account of this restriction, bitterly refer to Mexico City as the “global gag rule.” They have fought against it from its inception in 1984.
The new assault is deceptive. While not deleting the prohibition on federal funds going to abortion-providing organizations, the rewritten provision would allow family-planning groups to receive what are called "in-kind commodities," instead. Tens of millions of dollars of pills, condoms, Norplant, and Depo-Provera would be shipped to IPPF and other pro-abortion groups.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who introduced the amendment, claims that "This amendment would advance the Bush administration's stated goal of the Mexico City policy to 'make abortion more rare,' and protect women and children. It is simply not enough to say you support family planning, so long as the current restrictions remain in law."
Contraception always leads to abortion, of course, so Lowey's argument is false on its face.
And won't giving subsidies to pro-abortion groups empower them to promote and perform more abortions? Of course it will. As Congressman Chris Smith pointed out, giving freebies to abortion groups is effectively the same thing as giving them funding. “If we provide either cash or in-kind contributions to abortion organizations, we empower them and we enable them to campaign to expand abortion,” Smith said in an impassioned speech on the House floor. “If protecting babies and women from abortion matters to you . . . there is no way that any of us could work to overturn the Mexico City policy. This is the time to stand for the innocent and the inconvenient ones who can't speak for themselves.”
Still, despite determined opposition from the House Pro-life Caucus, led by Smith, the Lowey amendment passed the House. The Senate has not yet taken up the amendment, but it is expected to pass there as well.
The good news is that Bush has promised to veto the amendment if it reaches his desk, and there are enough votes in the House and Senate to sustain a veto.
But pro-lifers cannot be complacent. The war in Iraq and the immigration issue receive the lion's share of the President's attention these days, so we must continue to raise pro-life issues lest a distracted White House misjudge their importance.
Clever amendments like Loweys are dangerous to our cause. While the Freedom of Choice Act was more of a publicity stunt than anything else, this stealth attack on the Mexico City Policy provides wishy-washy politicians with a cover story. They can cast a pro-abortion vote on the grounds that they are ostensibly "helping to reduce the number of abortions."
Congressman Chris Smith is right: giving commodities to abortion-providers is the same thing as giving them funds. We must not support abortion abroad–or at home–with American tax dollars.
Colin Mason is the Director for Media Production at PRI.