May 25, 2012 — The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted 18-12 to approve an amendment that would permanently repeal the "global gag rule" and authorize funding for international family planning programs, The Hill's "Global Affairs" reports (Pecquet, "Global Affairs," The Hill, 5/24).
The global gage rule, which President Obama lifted through an executive order in 2009, blocks U.S. foreign aid to organizations that use their own money to offer abortion services or even provide information about or referrals for abortion services (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/18).
The amendment, approved as part of the Senate State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs bill, sets up a clash with the House ("Global Affairs," The Hill, 5/24). Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to its version of the bill that would reinstate the global gag rule and eliminate funding to the United Nations Population Fund (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/18).
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who sponsored the Senate amendment, said, "House Republicans continue efforts to put politics in the way of vital health care for women by attempting to reinstate the global gag rule." He added, "This amendment ensures this backwards policy never returns and protects access to family planning services for some of the world's poorest women" ("Global Affairs," The Hill, 5/25).
The funding bill also includes a provision that would allow coverage of abortion care for women in the Peace Corps in cases of rape, incest or if a pregnancy threatened a woman's life. The provision, also sponsored by Lautenberg, would make abortion coverage for Peace Corps volunteers consistent with other federal programs (Lautenberg Press Office release, 5/24).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership