Negotiations on the $14.9 billion foreign aid bill could come to a close this week with a “compromise” on family planning funding. Representatives Sonny Callahan (R-AL) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), respectively the chairman and top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that controls foreign aid, have contrived two options for dealing with the family planning provision instated under Ronald Reagan in 1984. Reagan’s executive order barred aid to groups that perform abortions overseas or lobby to liberalize abortion laws. Clinton revoked the order in 1993, but the next president will decide whether to reinstate the “global gag rule.” While both proposed compromises would increase spending for international family planning from $385 million to as much as $425 million, one version would keep the Reagan-era ban in place until next year and the other would leave out the Reagan language but would not allow the money to be spent until early next year. The presidential election will ultimately decide the status of the U.S.’s aid to groups that provide family planning aid to foreign countries.
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