By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 14, 2009 ( – The US Senate has voted to approve a must-pass spending bill that lifts the ban on the District of Columbia using its budget to subsidize abortions. The bill also funnels hundreds of millions of dollars to abortion-advocacy groups overseas, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

On Sunday, the Senate voted to approve the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 3288), already passed by the House of Representatives, which funds the operations of the federal government, but has many anti-life provisions tucked within the legislation.

The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending billion, approved in a 57 – 35 vote by the Senate, empowers the D.C. local government to allocate federal funds appropriated for its operating budget to pay for the elective abortions of poor women.

During the previous fiscal years between 1996-2009, Congress prohibited the District of Columbia from funding abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother in its budget through the Dornan Amendment. That measure – now overturned – supplemented abortion-funding restrictions not covered by the Hyde Amendment, which applies only to the annual Labor, Heath and Human Services bill.

The bill massively expands funding for “international family planning” to the tune of $648.5 million – a boost of $103 million over Fiscal Year 2009. With President Obama having rescinded the Mexico City Policy earlier this year, organizations involved in promoting or providing abortion overseas, such as International Planned Parenthood Federation and its affiliates, are now eligible to tap into these funds.

The bill also gave a sizable boost to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) – a U.N. entity notorious for its collusion in the forced abortions and sterilizations of China's one-child policy – which stands to receive $55 million total for FY 2010, an extra $5 million above the previous spending year.

While a significant blow to pro-life policy, the omnibus bill could have been even worse for pro-life advocates. The final approved version did not contain Senate amendments that would have codified the repeal of the Mexico City Policy into federal law and have subsidized abortions for federal employees.

The bill heads to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it.