U.S. House Passes Foreign Aid Bill that Will Fund Abortion Overseas

By Lisa Correnti | July 29, 2021

The U.S. House led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed for the first time an overseas funding bill that stripped longstanding pro-life protections which prevented U.S. taxpayer funding for abortion.

“We are proud to be permanently repealing the Global Gag Rule: a dangerous rule that deprives the poorest families in the world a basic health care and family planning services,” Pelosi said (D-CA) presiding over the vote.

The $62 billion bill that will fund the State Department and foreign operations for 2022 (H.R. 4373) passed by a vote of 217 to 212. The bill was basically unchanged from what passed out of the Appropriations Committee two weeks ago despite attempts by Republican lawmakers to reinstitute pro-life riders.

The Foreign Aid bill removes the Helms Amendment which banned funding for abortion overseas for over four decades without exception. It increases funding for international family planning by almost $200 million to $760 million. The funding will go to global abortion groups which will use it to expand clinics in pro-life countries around the world where they will pressure countries to liberalize abortion laws.

“We’ve waited more than 40 years to end this harmful policy. With the passage of this bill in the House, we are one step closer to a world where everyone can get abortion care when they need it,” wrote the policy director for the National Network of Abortion Funds in an email celebrating the House bill passage.

The bill weakens the Kemp-Kasten amendment which prevents coercive family planning programs and removes language preventing Peace Corps money from being used to pay for abortion.

The bill also permanently repeals the Mexico City Policy (MCP) preventing any future Republican administration from instituting the prohibition that precludes abortion groups from receiving U.S. grant money if they promote or perform abortion, even with non-U.S. funds. Under President Trump, this was expanded to all global health funds, though previously limited to only family planning funding. However, due to abortion groups migrating to other health sectors like HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, and maternal and child health, the MCP was expanded and renamed Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA).

The Foreign Aid bill restores funding to the UN Population Fund and doubles the annual appropriation to $70 million.

Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) offered an amendment to reduce the bloated family planning funding and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) offered an amendment to eliminate funding to UNFPA, though both amendments failed.

The Senate may take up their own version of the bill in September though will likely not have the votes to mirror the same anti-life policies drafted by Democrat House members.