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Capitol Health Call
May 11, 2005

Foreign Family Planning Aid

JAMA. 2005;293(18):2204. doi:10.1001/jama.293.18.2204-d

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.

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