House Democrats Reject Congresswoman Debbie Lesko’s Pro-Life Amendment to First Appropriations Package

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Washington, DC, June 18, 2019 | comments

Today, House Democrats rejected an amendment offered by Congresswoman Debbie Lesko to prohibit American taxpayers from subsidizing abortions around the world. Her amendment to H.R. 2740, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020, would have prevented $750 million from being used to fund abortions around the world.

On June 13, 2019, Congresswoman Lesko delivered the following remarks on the House floor urging her Democrat colleagues to support the amendment, especially at a time when regard for human life has never been higher.

Congresswoman Lesko: “Madame Chair, my amendment would strike the requirement that at least $750,000,000 of Global Health Programs shall be made available for so-called family planning, a funding stream that can support domestically-based Non-governmental Organizations that support the global abortion industry.

“Regard for human life has never been higher. Polling statistics indicate that Americans are as likely to identify as pro-life as they are pro-choice. A Marist poll shows that 75% of Americans would limit abortion to the first three months of pregnancy. Further, Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion in the U.S. 54% to 39%. 75% of Americans oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in foreign countries. Our policies reflect these views through the Hyde Amendment, which has protected federal tax dollars from funding abortions in the United States for the last four decades. The Helms Amendment passed in 1973 to protect tax dollars from being spent on abortions through U.S. foreign assistance. Most recently, President Trump has committed to Congress and to the American people that he will veto any legislation that encourages the destruction of innocent human life at any stage.

“Our President has also courageously reinstated the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy, which prohibits foreign NGOs from performing and promoting abortion as long as they are receiving U.S. tax dollars. However, domestic NGOs are still using federal tax dollars to perform and promote abortion abroad. In the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations language, we use the words ‘family planning’ and ‘reproductive health’ to disguise giving grant recipients license to permeate foreign countries with abortion. Promoting abortion in poor, developing nations undermines our purposes in providing life-saving assistance and disrespects the cultures and sometimes the policies of those nations. It encourages the idea that having fewer children reduces poverty and economic instability instead of promoting real solutions to those problems, like more human rights and liberties. Stopping domestic NGOs from using American tax dollars for abortions is consistent with our other policies, like the Hyde and Helms Amendments, and the PLGHA that limit government funding for abortions; and consistent with the views of 75% of Americans. These policies save lives. In the case of my amendment, thousands of children all over the world can be saved.

“To be clear, my amendment does not eliminate, nor does it reduce funding.  My amendment aims to ensure that instead of investing funds in promoting and performing abortions abroad, the valuable dollars that fund our global health programs are invested in reducing maternal and infant mortality, treating birth complications, and enabling access to safe blood, nutrition, and antibiotics. These dollars should be used to provide quality obstetric care and true humanitarian assistance to those in need. My amendment ensures that our nation’s policies align with the views of the vast majority of the American people. We must not allow this onslaught on children to continue being promoted in foreign nations, and especially not with our tax dollars. Children are a source of hope, prosperity, and development. They must be treated as such from the very beginning of their lives here and everywhere. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment. I yield back.

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