What: All Issues : Family Planning : Availability of Contraceptives : HR 2764. (Fiscal 2008 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations) Brownback of Kansas amendment that would delete language allowing U.S. funds to be used for donated contraceptives in developing countries/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 320)
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HR 2764. (Fiscal 2008 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations) Brownback of Kansas amendment that would delete language allowing U.S. funds to be used for donated contraceptives in developing countries/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 320     Sep 06, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment by Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, that would delete language in the underlying bill that would allow U.S. funds to be used to help provide contraceptives in developing countries.  This is currently completely prohibited under the terms of a U.S. policy known as the “Mexico City policy.”  The Mexico City policy bars U.S. aid to international family planning organizations that perform or promote abortion services, even if done with their own funds.  The amendment was offered to the bill that funds the State Department and foreign operations in fiscal 2008.

The so-called “Mexico City policy” was first initiated by President Reagan in 1984.  President Bill Clinton rescinded the directive; George W. Bush reinstated it as one of his first actions as president.  The Democratic leadership made it clear that they would attempt to overturn or water down the policy once they had the reins of Congress, angering Republicans who tried to erect roadblocks to this change.
 
Brownback said his amendment would simply maintain the status quo.  “This amendment simply reinstates U.S. policy that we will not be involved in countries promoting abortion policies or promoting abortion with our taxpayer dollars,” Brownback said. Earlier during the debate, Sam Brownback, D-Kansas, won adoption of an amendment that would prohibit U.S. funds from being used for “coercive abortion or forced, involuntary sterilization.”

Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said by denying women in developing countries contraceptives, Brownback may be in essence driving more women to have abortions.

“Why would we deny contraception to families who need it desperately? It would be a terrible vote to vote aye on this amendment because you are consigning a lot of women to abortion, and we do not want to do that. We want to get them contraception,” Boxer said.  Earlier during debate on the bill, Boxer won adoption of an amendment that would rescind the Mexico City policy completely.
 
By a vote of 40-54, the Senate rejected the amendment.  Every Democrat present voted against the amendment, except Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who often votes against his party on abortion issues.  All but eight Republicans present voted for the amendment.  The end result was that the measure went forward with language that would allow U.S. funds to be used to help provide contraceptives in developing countries.

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