I’ve written several times (here and here) on a letter circulated by pro-life Congressmen Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Heath Shuler (D-NC) for signatures, which they submitted to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week….
The letter garnered an unprecedented 180 signatures, thanks in large part to many of you, encouraging your congresspersons to sign. The letter urged House leaders to leave all pro-life riders intact in the appropriations bill, such as the Hyde Amendment, which bans taxpayer funding of most U.S. abortions, conscience protection for health care providers, and taxpaid prohibitition of human embryo research. Read the letter and its impressive list of signers here.
When the appropriations bill was unveiled February 24, it did leave all pro-life riders intact – except the Kemp-Kasten provision, which allows the president to withhold family planning funding from any organization s/he determines is involved in coercive abortions or sterilization.
Liberals added a provision carving out funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which is involved in reproductive coercion in China, and from which President Bush withdrew funding.
The new provision states UNFPA can get funding at Congress’s discretion no matter what any president thinks, and actually no matter what international law it violates, even terrorism. Liberals then appropriated UNFPA $50 million for Fiscal Year 2009.
Recall 180 of 435 members of Congress signed a bi-partisan letter urging House leaders not to do what they did. That’s no small minority. Only 38 more members would give pro-lifers the majority.
Then it got worse. On February 25 the Democrat led House Rules Committee blocked Rep. Chris Smith from introducing 2 amendments for a House floor vote: one to overturn President Obama’s executive order giving taxpayer money to international abortion groups, and one to restore the Kemp-Kasten language to bar UNFPA from getting taxpayer money.
Then it got worse. Republican leadership had one option left it chose to ignore, adding to the snub. As the minority party it could have made a motion on the floor to amend the UNFPA. And it did not. As Family Research Council wrote:
If Republican leaders weren’t willing to use their right to offer this amendment and force a vote on this pro-life provision, it’s unclear whether they will fight for other pro-life measures on appropriations bills that are scheduled to move through Congress this spring…. [A]lowing liberals to gut a pro-life rider, one which was designed to prevent our complicity in China’s egregious one-child policy, is something Americans do not accept.
Here is Congressman Smith’s speech on the House broadcasting to any ears that will hear what just happened…
It would help if pro-lifers should follow-up with pro-life congresspersons to thank them for signing the letter. Obviously, they need encouragement.
[Graphic courtesy of FRC]