Thursday, May 16, 2019

2020 Foreign Operations bill passes committee

Today the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2020 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) funding bill by a vote of 29-23.


The bill retained most long-standing pro-life protections:
  • Helms Abortion Funding Ban: Prevents foreign aid from being spent for abortion.
  • Kemp-Kasten Coercive Abortion Provision: Directs the President to discontinue funding to organizations that support or participate in the management of a coercive abortion program. It has been included since FY 1985.
  • Tiahrt Voluntary Family Planning Provision: Ensures that population control funds are only used in programs which are certified to be voluntary in every respect.
  • Siljander Amendment: Prevents federal funding from being used to lobby for or against abortion
  • Peace Corps Abortion Funding Ban: Prohibition on abortion funding in the Peace Corps
Four problematic sections within the bill:
  1. The bill repeals Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) (expanded the Mexico City Policy).
  2. The bill appropriates $55.5 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which is complicit in China’s birth-limitation policy. This is $23 million more than FY 2019 enacted levels.
  3. The bill appropriates not less than $750 million for family planning/reproductive health programs. This is a $175 million increase from FY 2019 enacted levels.
  4. The bill alters longstanding language, adding contraception to the activities that may be funded notwithstanding any other provision of law. In the past, these activities have been limited to bilateral assistance for child survival activities and disease programs, including activities relating to research on, and the prevention, treatment and control of, HIV/AIDS. Exceptions to the notwithstanding include the provisions under the heading “Global Health Programs” and the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003, as amended.


During the mark-up, two amendments were offered that would have strengthened pro-life protections:

Amendment Blocking Funding for UNFPA

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) offered an amendment to prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which is complicit in China’s birth-limitation policy. His closing remarks.

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) spoke in support, and Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) spoke in support of the Fleischmann Amendment.

The amendment failed by a vote of 23-29 along party lines.

Amendment Supporting Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance

Rep. Andy Harris offered an amendment striking language that blocks the implementation of the Trump Administration’s “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” (PLGHA). PLGHA prohibits U.S. international assistance for foreign NGOs that promote or perform abortions. Rep. Harris’s closing remarks.

Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) spoke in support, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) spoke in support, and Rep. Robert Aderholt spoke in support of the Harris Amendment.

The amendment failed by a vote of 22-29 along party lines.

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