Wednesday, January 2, 2019

House begins undermining pro-life policy

On December 31, 2018, House Appropriations Chairman-designate Nita Lowey (D-NY) released appropriations legislation entitled, “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019.” The bill includes funding for six appropriations bills: Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; Financial Services; Interior; State, Foreign Operations; and Transportation. It also includes a Continuing Resolution that funds the Department of Homeland Security through February 8, 2019.

According to an Appropriations Committee press release, the legislation is expected to be considered in the House on January 3, 2019.

Section 7071(a): The bill repeals Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) (expanded Mexico City Policy) (pg. 1021-1022)

PLGHA requires foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to agree, as a condition of their receipt of global health assistance grant money, not to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.

Reinstated and modernized by President Trump, the policy now applies to all global health programs (nearly $9 billion). If NGOs choose to stop doing abortions, they can remain eligible for federal grant money. The choice has been up to the NGO – either change business practices or forego funding from the United States.

Section 7071(b): The bill appropriates not less than $37.5 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (pg. 1022-1023)

This represents a $5 million funding increase for UNFPA (from $32.5 million in current law to a minimum of $37.5 million).

Members have opposed funding UNFPA because of its involvement in China’s birth limitation policy, which relies on forced or coerced abortion.

Section 7058(a): the bill appropriates not less than $595 million for family planning/reproductive health programs (pg. 986)

This represents an increase of $20 million (from $575 million in current law to a minimum of $595 million)

Even if the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance remains in place, this funding stream can support domestically-based NGOs that support the global abortion industry. By setting a minimum funding level of $595 million, the bill would effectively allow unlimited spending in this area.

Other longstanding pro-life appropriations riders were retained in the bill.

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