By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 2, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A year after the same maneuver ended in defeat, a Senate committee has again approved an amendment to the foreign appropriations bill that would codify President Obama's repeal of the Mexico City Policy. The measure would make international non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion permanently eligible for U.S. foreign funds.
Since its institution by president Ronald Reagan in 1984, the policy, dubbed the "Global Gag Rule" by pro-abortion groups, has undergone repeal and reinstatement by Executive Order by alternately pro-abortion and pro-life presidents. Days after taking office in January 2009, President Obama repealed the policy - which proved the least popular by far of his initial actions as president, with only 35% of those surveyed supporting the decision.
The amendment was slipped into the foreign appropriations bill by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), before the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill in an 18-12 party-line vote.
Should the law be passed, future U.S. presidents would be unable specifically to block funding for international abortion heavyweights, such as the International Planned Parenthood Foundation and Marie Stopes International, which not only facilitate the spread of abortion but represent a major force lobbying against laws protecting unborn children throughout the world.
Planned Parenthood has praised Sen. Lautenberg and other pro-abortion committee senators "for taking the first step in retiring this restrictive policy once and for all." The group urged its Facebook fans to "Tell your representatives that this matters to you and urge them to keep pushing for it until we get the job done!"
The committee approved the same amendment last year, also introduced by Lautenberg, before it met defeat in the full Senate.
The appropriations bill, as pointed out by the Family Research Council, is problematic for pro-life leaders in other respects as well. It allots millions more in foreign aid funds to the United Nations Population Fund, whose funding was halted by the Bush administration following an independent investigation concluding that the group facilitated China's coercive one-child policy. President Obama reinstated funds for the UNFPA without comment on the investigation, which the findings of a later State Department probe had confirmed.