Pro-lifers scored a significant victory in Congress recently, a victory due to a courageous stand made by pro-life congressmen and senators, and ultimately the President, against massive opposition.
Gutting the Mexico City Policy
Earlier in 2007, legislation intended to gut the Mexico City Policy sailed through the Democrat-controlled House and Senate. Under this new legislation, which was included in the 2008 foreign appropriations bill, subsidies would once again flow to abortion providers and proponents like Planned Parenthood. The original policy put in place by President Reagan denying any and all population control funding to abortion groups, whether in the form of dollars or IUDs, seemed doomed.
But the position changed when the Democratic leadership dumped all eleven unresolved spending measures into one huge omnibus bill consisting of thousands of pages. And fearing a presidential veto, they left all of the pro-life protections historically embodied in such legislation in place.
Earlier, the tenacious resistance of pro-lifers—including the pro-lifer who sits in the Oval Office—had forced this and most other spending hills into a holding pattern. Hence, the Democrat leadership had not moved a single spending measure to the President’s desk, since all faced certain vetoes. Because of this, all eleven spending measures were for weeks consigned to legislative limbo, caught between anti-life ideology and presidential resolve.
According to the Washington newspaper The Hill, the President, besides being committed to protect the Mexico City Policy and other existing pro-life legislation, spent most of December trying to hold the line on spending. He has mandated a $993 billion cap on the domestic appropriations budget, which the free-spending Democrats struggled for weeks to meet.
Working on the Deadlock
On December 6, the Democrats rammed through a continuing resolution that gave them until December 21 to resolve the deadlock. In the days following, they carried on negotiations behind closed doors amongst themselves. According to The Hill, Republicans complained at the time that “the majority has shut them out of the negotiating process while pushing an excessive amount of domestic spending.”
A White House staffer had earlier indicated to Population Research Institute that the Republicans did not expect to see the final version of the omnibus bill until a matter of hours before it came time to vote. This, combined with the fact that the Democrats have shown a repeated resolve to indefinitely pass continuing resolutions until political conditions prove more favorable to their causes, did not give much occasion to hope.
Omnibus Bill Released
However, over the course of December, the pro-aborts caved. Eventually, the omnibus bill was released to the Republican side. Pro-life staffers reviewed the bill, and they are pleased to report that the language weakening the Mexico City Policy was dropped. Not compromised, not de-emphasized, but completely dropped. All pro-life provisions remain in place. Not only that, but the bill has stayed within the budget allotted by the President.
The omnibus bill is not perfect. Planned Parenthood gets its first increase in Title 10 funding in six years. On the plus side, the bill also allocates $8.8 million toward umbilical cord stem cell research, which will encourage scientists to research alternatives to embryonic stem cell research.
The Fight Is Not Over
All in all, this must be seen as a pro-life victory. It reflects the determination of the Administration and pro-life members of Congress to uphold longstanding U.S. policy. But the fight is far from over. Pro-lifers in Congress need our help to move forward.
What can you do?
First, and most importantly, contact your pro-life Senators and Representatives and tell them that you appreciate their votes on behalf of the Mexico City Policy and other pro-life laws. Pro-abortion groups are putting tremendous pressure on our people to back off from protecting babies. Our friends need to hear from us and know that we are behind them, lest they grow dispirited.
Second, write to President Bush thanking him for pledging to protect existing pro-life laws and urging him to use his veto if necessary. The more signatures we can get, the more pro- lifers in the White House, including the President himself, will he emboldened in defense of life.