Yesterday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.) was successful in leading the charge to force Americans to pay for abortions in foreign countries. Boxer offered an amendment to S. 925, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, to repeal the "Mexico City" policy, which was reinstated by President Bush in 2001. Nine Republicans (including Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter who is up for re-election in 2004 and will have tough primary against Rep. Pat Toomey) joined the Democrats in allowing taxpayer monies to fund abortions overseas - under the guise of family planning - "performed or promoted by international-based nongovernmental organizations."
As we noted when I was at the Senate Republican Policy Committee, liberals "maintain that private, foreign organizations that perform elective abortions or that lobby for the repeal of restrictions on abortions should be eligible for pregnancy prevention assistance from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the countries in which they perform those abortions or lobby for those repeals. Between 1984 and 1993, such organizations were not eligible for United States foreign assistance. That bar on assistance was imposed by presidential directive and was called the 'Mexico City' policy. It was imposed after the United Nations International Conference on Population (which was held in Mexico City) declared that abortion 'in no case should be promoted as a method of family planning . . .' President Clinton rescinded that ban in 1993. During the 9 years that the ban was in effect funding increased substantially for USAID population planning assistance, and 350 private, foreign organizations received aid. A few organizations, such as International Planned Parenthood Federation, were denied funds because they refused to comply with the Mexico City policy." After Clinton repealed the policy, USAID "funding increased further in 1993 and 1994, but with International Planned Parenthood Federation taking a large share of that increase. In 1995 Congress passed a foreign aid bill reinstituting the Mexico City policy. President Clinton vetoed that bill."
Now Senate Democrats and a handful of Republicans agree with Bill Clinton: Americans should support and pay for abortions in other countries.
Thankfully, this bill must still go to conference with the House where any repeal of the "Mexico City" policy will likely meet its demise.
Here are the Republicans who supported the Boxer amendment:
Sen. Ben Campbell (R.-Colo.)
Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.-R.I.)
Sen. Susan Collins (R.-Maine)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R.-Alaska)
Sen. Gordon Smith (R.-Ore.)
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R.-Maine)
Sen. Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.)
Sen. Ted Stevens (R.-Alaska)
Sen. John Warner (R.-Va.)