The Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment Thursday, in a 16-15 vote, that would repeal President Trump’s ban on abortion funding overseas, allowing federal money to go to international organizations that provide and promote abortions. The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) joined with Democrats to adopt the amendment.
Collins and Murkowski have both vocally opposed Trump’s re-instatement and expansion of the Reagan-era Mexico City Policy and have previously joined in Shaheen’s efforts to prevent any further ban on federal dollars going to organizations that provide abortions.
Collins and Murkowski clearly break with the majority of Senate Republicans on the abortion issue, voting to kill the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare in order to protect the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.
Shaheen’s amendment would limit any future president’s ability to ban abortion funding overseas and would reinstate U.S. funding of the United Nations Population Fund which the Trump administration ended in April in a separate policy citing its participation in forced abortion and sterilization.
“The global gag rule is a dangerous and ill-conceived policy that blocks millions of women and their families from receiving critical aid and assistance,” Shaheen said in a statement. “My amendment will preserve and restore funding levels for international organizations that help to prevent over fifty million unintended pregnancies around the world, and reduce the number of maternal deaths we see from those accessing unsafe abortions when the lack of family planning leaves them without options. I’m very pleased that this amendment was approved on a bipartisan basis and hope that Congress can continue to make progress to repeal this disastrous policy.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said at the markup that the GOP-led House would keep the overseas abortion funding ban in place.
“This is the same debate we have every year, probably with the same outcome,” he said.