An amendment to keep tax dollars from supporting abortion overseas failed in the U.S. House on Thursday, June 21, but more than 200 representatives who took a stand for life deserve to be thanked.
"Pro-family lawmakers are navigating their way through a minefield of anti-family legislation and rhetoric this Congress," said Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst for Focus on the Family Action. "Tell them you support their efforts to stand strong amid such strong opposition."
By a vote of 218-205, the House rejected a bipartisan amendment by Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Bart Stupak, D-Mich., that would have preserved the pro-life Mexico City policy — named after the location where President Reagan announced it in 1984. It was rescinded by President Clinton in 1993. President Bush reinstated the policy on his first day in office. The policy denies foreign aid funds to organizations that promote or provide abortions.
Bush has pledged to veto any bill that undermines his pro-life policies. Supporters of the Mexico City policy believe they can sustain a veto, according to Smith's office.
"Someday, future generations of Americans will look back on us and wonder how — and why — such a rich and seemingly enlightened society, so blessed and endowed with the capacity to protect and enhance vulnerable human life, could have instead, so aggressively promoted death to children by abortion," Smith said during Thursday's debate.
"They will note that we prided ourselves on our human-rights rhetoric and record, while precluding all protection to the most persecuted minority in the world today — unborn babies," he added.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, said: "Regrettably, the pro-life amendment fell a little short. The president will veto this bill, if necessary. And the veto will be sustained.
"In the end, they have to decide if they want to get their bills signed or vetoed. It is important for the members who voted for the Smith-Stupak amendment to hear appreciation from constituents who do not want their dollars used for abortion."
The Smith-Stupak amendment was part of the foreign aid spending bill, which the House passed, 241-178.