The pro-abortion majority in Congress, as we have been warning since last November’s elections, has gone on the offensive. They are seeking to strip out of legislation all of the pro-life protections that our side has embedded in the law over the past two decades, putting unborn babies around the world at serious risk. Mexico City Policy in Danger Rep. Nina Lowey
(D-NY), a strident promoter of abortion, fired the opening salvo. She introduced an amendment on June 21 to overturn the Mexico City Policy — the Reagan-era policy that bans money from going to groups like Planned Parenthood that provide or promote abortions overseas.
The Lowey amendment passed the full House by a 223 to 201 vote, while a pro-life “counter-amendment” offered by Reps. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Bart Stupak (D-MI) failed on a 205–218 vote. (Apparently four congressmen followed Senator John Kerry’s practice of “voting for it before they voted against it.”)
Gift to Planned Parenthood
In a further gift to Planned Parenthood and like-minded groups, Lowey also removed the abstinence provision from the HIV-prevention funds. This had guaranteed that at least some of the money went to groups that promoted abstinence until marriage and faithfulness thereafter. An effort by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) to reinsert this commonsense language failed.
More Challenges to Come
We can expect other challenges in the weeks to come, as provisions to prevent direct taxpayer funding of abortion, conscience protections, and anti-coercive family planning provisions come under attack. I take these attacks personally, for two reasons. First, because I was there when these pro-life amendments were originally drafted and passed. I provided research and testimony in support of the Mexico City Policy, the Kemp-Kasten Amendment against forced abortion and sterilization, and the Tiahrt Amendment protecting women. I number myself among the godfathers of these pro-life initiatives, and we at PRI will not stand by and watch them killed.
Second, I am all too aware of how women suffer at the hands of the population controllers. Instead of trying to lift peoples out of poverty, the pro-aborts are more interested in simply reducing their numbers. Authentic economic development is neglected, human rights abuses abound, and everyone’s freedoms are put at risk.
This is why we are even now gathering information on abuses in a dozen countries, showing how “family planning” groups promote abortion, undermine the family, and violate local laws and existing federal statutes. Our pro-life friends in Congress may be in the minority at the present time, but any evidence we can gather will help turn the tide. If all of those — on both sides of the aisle — who claim to be pro-life actually voted that way, none of the pro-life protections would be in jeopardy.
This PRI evidence will also help to stiffen the spines of those in the White House who may be tempted to compromise.
Help from Bush
As for the occupant of the Oval Office himself he is pledged to be on our side. And he wields a powerful weapon in defense of life: the presidential veto.
During his first six years in office. President Bush rarely threatened to veto legislation. But now, facing a Congress whose leadership is hostile to Life, he has drawn a line in the sand, To those who wish to use U.S. funds to perform abortions, to lobby for the legalization of abortion overseas, and to impose population control on poor women, he said, in effect, “You shall not pass.” His veto threat virtually guarantees that these provisions, which have long been the law of the land, continue to protect women and families.
On May 3 the president sent identical letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) telling them to keep their hands off the pro-life amendments.
“I will veto any legislation that weakens current Federal policies and laws on abortion,” he told them firmly. “Or that encourages the destruction of human life at any stage.”
Rep. Lowey and Speaker Pelosi may have won the battle in the House, but thanks to the pro-life phalanx and the President’s veto, they will probably lose the war.