Pro-Life House Members denounce H.R. 21 that would reverse Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy

H.R. 21 passes House 241-190

By Dave Andrusko

As NRL News Today reported late last night, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 21, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 by a vote of 241 – 190.

A number of pro-life House members spoke out in opposition. (See below.)

National Right to Life had sent a letter to House Members in opposition to the measure, intended to address the partial government shutdown, because it added language to gut key pro-life provisions.

H.R. 21 reverses the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy, the Trump Administration’s initiative that expanded and enhanced the “Mexico City Policy.” Under the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance program, in order to be eligible for U.S. population assistance, a private organization must sign a contract promising not to perform abortions (except to save the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest), lobby to change the abortion laws of host countries, or otherwise “actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.

In addition, H.R. 21 appropriates no less than $37.5 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and no less than $595 million for international family planning/reproductive health programs.

A number of pro-life House Members spoke on H.R. 21 itself or the motion to recommit the bill which failed by a vote of 199-232. They included Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC); Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD); Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO); Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO); Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA); Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN); and Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)

Pro-life Rep. Chris Smith (R- NJ), chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, began his remarks by observing, “Madam Speaker, if reopening the government is the goal, if ending the shutdown is the goal, why does this appropriations package contain a brand-new poison pill rider, Section 71, that overturns a major, comprehensive, current-day pro-life policy?”

Let’s be clear—the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy is eviscerated by this bill. The “Protecting Life” policy, Madam Speaker, is a significant reiteration and expansion of President Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Policy, which was first announced back in 1984, and that policy was and is designed to ensure that U.S. taxpayer money is not funneled to foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning.

The policy done by Trump two years ago establishes pro-child safeguards that are benign and humane conditions—it’s about protection of these innocent children who might otherwise die from chemical poisoning or by dismemberment. For years, pro-abortion organizations have used U.S. taxpayer funds to weaken, undermine or reverse pro-life laws in other nations, and destroy precious lives of these children.

The Speaker earlier today admonished us to protect God’s creation. These unborn children are God’s creation. They cry out for our protection.

U.S. foreign policy, and the foreign entities that we fund with billions of dollars of grant money should consistently affirm, care for, and tangibly assist women and children, including the unborn child. Let’s not forget: no one is expendable or a throwaway; every human life has eminent value; birth is merely an event, not the beginning of life, of a child; taxpayers should not be forced to fund the organizations that are promoting abortion overseas.

Rep. Smith concluded by reminding the House the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy

doesn’t reduce global humanitarian aid, global health aid, by so much as a dollar. It just says who we give it to does matter. And if they have an agenda of taking the lives of these precious children, we would give it to someone else.