WASHINGTON (May 16, 2001) -- An official of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) hailed today's vote in the House of Representatives to save the "Mexico City" policy. The vote was 218-210.
"This is an important step for our nation in building a culture of life," said Cathleen Cleaver, Esq., director of planning and information at the NCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. "When poor women overseas cry out for help, we will no longer respond with abortion. Rather, the U.S. government will respect their dignity and humanity by addressing their real needs."
The Mexico City policy, reinstated by President Bush in January, prohibits U.S. funding of non-governmental organizations unless they agree not to promote or perform abortions as a method of family planning. An amendment to the State Department authorization bill, approved by the House International Relations Committee last week, would have rescinded the policy; but the full House deleted this amendment, in effect upholding the President's policy.
"The vast majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars used for programs that promote or provide abortion as a method of family planning," Ms. Cleaver said. "The Mexico City policy simply brings our nation's foreign aid policy back in line with the views of the American people.
"Make no mistake: most poor women in developing nations are not calling for help to abort their babies. They are calling for food, housing, and medicine for themselves and their children. They are trying to lead lives of full human dignity. We are grateful that the Congress has responded."