Pro-life members of Congress outmaneuvered President Clinton for one of the rare occasions during his seven years in the White House, and only a small percentage of United States funds for international family planning will go to abortion advocacy organizations as a result.
When the president signed into law a budget bill that included $385 million for family planning overseas, he accepted a restriction that no more than $15 million could go to organizations that perform or promote abortion in foreign countries even if he waived the limitation. One day later, he signed the waiver, leaving 96 percent of the funds off limits to abortion advocacy groups.
The restriction on family planning funds was part of legislation providing more than $900 million in United Nations back dues the Clinton administration had requested. Last year, the president vetoed similar U.N. funding legislation because it included a prohibition on funds for abortion advocacy groups overseas. This time, faced with the potential loss of the United States' seat in the U.N. General Assembly, Clinton accepted the restriction with compromise language he could make up to 4 percent of the total available for abortion advocates.
It marked the first time since Clinton took office in 1993 funds for abortion advocates overseas have been restricted. It also reinstituted a ban, known as the Mexico City Policy, initiated in 1984 by President Reagan and maintained until Clinton issued an executive order the same week of his inauguration rescinding the prohibition.
"We never abandoned the hope of restoring these effective pro-life safeguards for unborn children in developing countries around the world," said Rep. Chris Smith (R.-N.J.)
The legislation "establishes a bright line ...1
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