By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 11, 2009 ( – The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday approved a bill that would create a new “Office for Global Women's Issues” in the State Department, which pro-life leaders have reason to believe will promote abortion abroad. 

Despite unaddressed pro-life concerns, the House voted 235 – 187 to approve the Foreign Affairs Reauthorization Act (HR 2410) late Wednesday. The vote was for the most part divided along party lines, with 18 Democrats voting with the GOP against the bill. It will now proceed to the US Senate for further consideration.

Pro-life advocates had expressed concern over section 334 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which would take effect starting in Fiscal Year 2010 and establishes in the State Department an Office of Global Women's Issues to coordinate efforts “relating to gender integration and women's empowerment.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier in April 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 HR 2410 that would authorize the new State Department office to act as an instrument for positive initiatives to help women globally, but would restrict it from promoting abortion or harming unborn children and mothers. 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. 

However all attempts by Smith to insert a pro-life amendment were defeated. The National Right to Life Committee has stated its opposition to the bill unless the Rules committee adopted the pro-life amendment.

With Clinton as head of the State Department, it appears certain that the Global Women’s Issues Office will have promotion of abortion as one of its top priorities. 

“People in the developing world tell us that they fear that this will be used by the Obama administration to export an aggressive abortion agenda internationally,” Piero Tozzi, Executive Vice President of C-FAM, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization which monitors the United Nations on policies relating to life and family, told

Tozzi pointed out that the Obama administration’s decision to revoke the Mexico City policy and fund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) “despite allegations of complicity with China’s forced abortion policy” are prime indicators of the direction the new Office will be certain to take. Tozzi added, “Hillary Clinton has gone on record as saying that her notion of ‘reproductive health’ includes abortion.”

“I think it is an example of cultural imperialism and arrogance that will blowback to the detriment of the United States,” said Tozzi. “It will alienate people in Latin America and the Caribbean, where there is a clear trend toward enhancing protection for unborn life – see how a multitude of Mexican states and the Dominican Republic are passing constitutional amendments to protect life from conception.”

See related coverage:

Congress to Vote This Week on Controversial “Global Women's Issues” Initiative

Congressional Committee Approves Proposal for Global Women's Office, Snubs Pro-Life Amendment


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