By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 2009 ( – The House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday approved the creation of a new Office of Global Women’s Issues. However, the committee voted down efforts by one congressman to ensure that the office would not implement the radical abortion agenda espoused by both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Section 334 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which would take effect starting in Fiscal Year 2010, establishes an Office of Global Women’s Issues to coordinate efforts “relating to gender integration and women’s empowerment.”

Pro-life advocates say they fear that, while there are many positive activities that such an office could engage in, under the leadership of Obama and Clinton it will likely actively participate in worldwide abortion advocacy.

Several weeks ago, Hillary Clinton confirmed to the same committee that the Obama administration was committed to dismantling legal protection for the unborn worldwide under the heading of “reproductive health.” (

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) offered an amendment to the Act that would authorize the Women’s Issues office to act as an instrument for initiatives to help women globally, but without promoting abortion or harming unborn children.

Smith’s amendment would have involved the Office in the establishment of pregnancy care centers, and included the explicit goal to fight the practice of forced abortions and sterilizations, and sex-selective abortions.

In general, Smith proposed that the Office recognize 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.”

“As part of a humane and consistent agenda for women, the Office of Global Women’s issues ought to be first in line affirming the inherent value and innate dignity of mothers and their babies both before and after birth,” said Smith in a statement concerning the amendment. (To read Rep. Smith’s full statement:

However, Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) opposed Smith’s amendment, and it was blocked 22-17 along party lines.

The original authorization for an Office of Global Women’s Issues remains in the bill that will likely go to the full House of Representatives for consideration in the coming weeks.

See related coverage:

Secretary of State Clinton Admits Obama will Work to Dismantle Abortion Laws around the World