By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 9, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a bill that would create a new "Office for Global Women's Issues" in the State Department.
Given that the House Foreign Affairs Committee rejected pro-life language in delineating the responsibilities of the office, pro-life leaders fear that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly use the office to lobby against international legal protections for the unborn. The National Right to Life Committee is asking pro-lifers to contact their congressmen to oppose the bill.
When asked in an April 22 congressional hearing how the Obama administration would treat international pro-life laws, Clinton confirmed that the Obama administration considered the "right" to abortion an essential part of "reproductive health." She said that the administration "will protect the rights of women, including their rights to reproductive health care."
Last month, Congressman Chris Smith attempted to amend section 334 of the State Department Reauthorization bill, H.R. 2410, establishing an Office of Global Women's Issues to coordinate efforts "relating to gender integration and women's empowerment."
Smith's proposed amendment would have established the office as recognizing that "it is the policy of the United States Government not to lobby sovereign countries, including through multilateral mechanisms, to change their domestic laws and policies to legalize, fund, or promote abortion except in cases of forcible rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother."
The amendment also would have ensured that the office's mission included the explicit goal to fight the practice of forced abortions and sterilizations, and sex-selective abortions. However, the proposed language was rejected by the Committee down party lines.
The National Right to Life Committee is urging pro-lifers to contact U.S. Representatives to vote down the measure.
"NRLC must oppose passage of H.R. 2410, because the bill will further empower the Obama Administration to pursue its agenda of undermining the pro-life laws of sovereign nations," wrote the pro-life group in a letter to members of Congress June 5.
"To the extent that the Administration succeeds in such efforts, it will greatly increase the number of abortions," the letter continued. "As Stanley K. Henshaw, deputy director of research for the Alan Guttmacher Institute, wrote in 1994, 'In most countries, it is common after abortion is legalized for abortion rates to rise sharply for several years, then stabilize, just as we have seen in the United States.'"
NRLC noted that it would withdraw its opposition to the bill if the Rules committee adopts Congressman Smith's second attempt at a pro-life amendment.
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