Anti-abortion Democrats in Congress this year joined abortion rights supporters to pass a foreign aid spending bill that they all said would reduce abortions in poor countries. It would allow the federal government to donate contraceptives to foreign groups that provide family planning services abroad, including those that offer abortions or favor making them legal.
But Democratic leaders in the House and Senate now have to decide whether to keep this provision in a major appropriations bill that includes popular programs to fight AIDS and malaria globally, knowing that President Bush is likely to veto it. Their decision is expected by Monday.
“People feel very strongly about the principle and that this president has ignored majorities in the House and Senate on this issue,” said Tim Rieser, the senior Democratic staff member on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on foreign aid. “But we also know we don’t have the votes to override a veto.”
This is the latest skirmish over a policy to prohibit giving federal funds for family planning programs to foreign groups that perform abortions or promote abortion as a family planning method. Known as the Mexico City policy, because it was announced there at a United Nations conference in 1984, it remained in force during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. It was rescinded by President Clinton and reinstated by President Bush.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
New York Times: