By Hilary White

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2007 ( – Democrats in the US House of Representatives lifted a prohibition yesterday on allowing government donations of abortifacient and other contraceptives to abortion-promoting foreign aid organizations.

President Bush has twice said he will veto any legislation that weakens protection for life in the Mexico City Policy. The policy dates to the Reagan administration and prohibits any funding for any purpose to abortion providers in developing countries.

The amendment passed by a vote of 223-201, with 207 Democrats and 16 Republicans voting to allow the contraceptive funding.

Rep. Nita Lowey, the New York Democrat who wrote the amendment said, “It would advance the Bush administration’s stated goal … to make abortion more rare and protect women and children.” Lowey’s language reflects a move by the US Democrats to soften their image and adopt less militant language in their continued support for abortion.

Lowey, the chairman of the House appropriations panel overseeing the foreign aid funding, is a long-time militant abortion and contraception promoter in the House, and a supporter of the international population control agency, the UNFPA. She was behind a 1998 measure that forced federal employee health-care plans to cover contraceptives.

Lowey’s first draft of the legislation specified that it would guarantee funds to any group so long as the assistance included funding for contraceptives.

Pro-life representatives argued that the bill would free up more resources for the groups’ abortion activities and undermine the Mexico policy. “The Mexico policy exists to draw a bright line between U.S. family planning policy and abortion,” said Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa. “However, it appears that there are some out there who wish to blur this line, (which) is what leads to coercive abortions and forced sterilizations.”

Read related coverage:

U.S. House Backs President’s Mexico City Policy


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