Friday, June 22, 2007

Wash. Post: Democrats Pass Provision for Contraceptives in House Foreign Aid Bill

Elizabeth Williamson reports for the Washington Post:

Move Is First Challenge To Antiabortion Riders

House Democrats narrowly passed a measure yesterday to provide contraceptives to overseas organizations that had been banned from receiving foreign aid because they provided or promoted abortion.

The amendment to an important antiabortion measure in the House foreign aid spending bill was a rebuke to President Bush, who has strictly opposed providing any assistance to groups that promote abortion. The Reagan-era measure, known as the Mexico City policy, was fiercely protected by Bush, who has issued two veto threats over the foreign aid bill should Democrats attempt to alter any of the antiabortion measures it contains.

The change to the measure may prove to be the House Democrats' only significant challenge to the antiabortion riders that have been added to a range of annual spending bills by abortion opponents over three decades.

The Mexico City measure is one of more than a dozen provisions banning Medicaid recipients, D.C. public health patients, prison inmates, government workers and even Peace Corps volunteers from getting a federally funded abortion. And Democrats have appeared cautious about taking on the bigger fight. That was evident even in the debate before yesterday's vote. The House passed the foreign aid bill 241 to 178.

Read more about the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, here.

Congress, Contraception, International | Permalink

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