The Senate has approved an amendment that repeals restrictions on funding
for international family planning organizations that provide abortion-related
services. The 2-year, $34 billion amendment to the State Department Foreign
Affairs Authorization Act (S 600) was passed with a vote of 52 to 46, with
8 Republican senators joining the Democrats.
The ban on such aid to nongovernmental organizations that perform abortions
or provide abortion counseling and education as part of family planning services
was implemented by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, removed by President Bill
Clinton in 1993, and reinstated by President George W. Bush in 2001. Over
the past 4 years, the Senate has repeatedly rejected the policy, which is
sometimes referred to as the “global gag rule” by opponents, while
the House has joined the current Bush administration in fighting to retain
it. The House will soon take up its own version of the bill, which the President
has threatened to veto if it passes.
Hampton T. Foreign Family Planning Aid. JAMA. 2005;293(18):2204. doi:10.1001/jama.293.18.2204-d