House Democrats have quietly inserted language repealing pro-life policies and expanding funding for organizations that promote or commit abortions in a bill intended to end the government shutdown. According to the Washington Examiner, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 would end a provision requiring foreign NGOs to guarantee that they will not “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.” The bill would also codify a $5 million increase to the United Nations Population Fund (from $32.5M to $37.5M), which has been accused in the past of coercive abortion and sterilization and lends support to China’s restrictive child policies.
The current policy targeted by the bill is called the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy, formerly known as the “Mexico City” policy. The policy was instituted by President Reagan in 1984 and has been re-instituted during every Republican presidency. Trump expanded this policy, which allows for NGOs to remain eligible for federal funding only if they choose to stop committing abortions.
In addition, the bill allocates a minimum of $595 million to family planning programs — with no set limits — essentially giving a blank check for the government to fund abortion-supporting organizations.
— Susan B. Anthony List (@SBAList) January 3, 2019
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life SBA List organization, said in a statement Thursday, “A strong majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. Acting on the clearly expressed will of the American people, President Trump and his administration have taken a bold stand for life by stopping billions of dollars in foreign aid from being used to push abortion overseas. The House’s spending bill would repeal this successful pro-life policy, making taxpayers complicit in the exportation of abortion and destruction of countless unborn children around the world. This is unconscionable and we oppose the bill in the strongest terms.”
Indeed, a large majority of Americans — 83 percent, according to a Marist poll — are against taxpayer funding of abortion.
Pro-life senator Marco Rubio also condemned the move: “Apparently, Democrats in their first day as the House majority intend on pushing divisive, pro-abortion policies that would allow taxpayer dollars to flow to international organizations that promote and perform abortions.” Rubio also noted the bill, which is one of two spending bills up for a vote today, is unlikely to survive the Senate.
Live Action founder and president Lila Rose responded to the news, saying, “This move shows the House Democrats are so radically pro-abortion that they are more concerned with pushing their abortion agenda on the American people than finding common ground to end the government shutdown,” adding that because “President Trump and the Senate Republican majority failed last session to pass a law preventing the American taxpayer from funding Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion chain[,] [t]hey now have a duty to stand firm and block such outrageous attempts to have the American taxpayer fund and promote abortion programs across the globe, which contributed to the killing of over 41 million children in the womb in 2018 alone.”
The bill gives an indication that abortion funding is likely to be one of the top Democrat legislative priorities for 2019.