Congress has failed to pass appropriations legislation for the various federal agencies in 2011, so the Democratic leadership in the Senate is pushing adoption of the all-encompassing spending measure before the end of the lame-duck session. Republicans, who will take control of the House of Representatives and have a stronger minority in the Senate when the new Congress convenes Jan. 4, are promoting what is known as a continuing resolution that would extend funding for government operations through Feb. 18.
The Family Research Council pointed to several provisions in the Senate's omnibus proposal it says would increase government support of abortion. At his weblog, Tom McClusky, vice president of FRC Action, included the following among pro-life concerns in a bill of more than 1,900 pages:
-- There will be $750 million in the Prevention and Public Health Fund for what McClusky describes as a "slush fund" that can be dipped into by organizations that do abortions.
-- Funding for "international population programming" will increase by $62 million under a presidential administration that rescinded the ban on funds to overseas groups that perform or promote abortions.
-- Money for Title X, the federal government's family planning program, will grow by $10 million from last year. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the country's leading abortion provider, is the No. 1 recipient of Title X funds.
-- Government money will continue to be used to underwrite abortions in the District of Columbia.
In addition, McClusky said there will be more than $1 billion in funding for the new health-care reform law, which will permit subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortions.
Pro-lifers received some encouraging news Dec. 15, when it was announced Democrats and Republicans had agreed on a Department of Defense authorization bill that would exclude a section allowing privately funded abortions to be performed in military hospitals in this country and abroad. A prohibition on such abortions has been in place for 14 years.
Republicans in the Senate had twice blocked floor action on the Defense authorization measure when it included the abortion provision and repeal of the ban on open homosexuals serving in the military. Opponents of the homosexual prohibition -- which is known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- are seeking to rescind it in a free-standing bill.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.
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