The House of Representatives is currently debating House Foreign Relations Authorization Bill 1646 that includes Rep. Barbara Lee’s amendment that would overturn the Mexico City Policy, or “Global Gag Rule,” which President Bush reinstated as his first act in office. The “Gag Rule” prohibits recipients of U.S. international family planning assistance from counseling women on abortion or engaging in political speech on abortion. Lee’s amendment has two primary positions: Foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) cannot be denied funding based on the medical services they provide, including counseling and referral services. Foreign NGOs, as a condition of eligibility for U.S. development assistance need not sacrifice their right to use their own funds to engage in free speech and assembly activities any more than U.S. based groups are asked to do.
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Next week, the Hyde/Smith/Oberstar amendment–legislation that supports the “Global Gag Rule” –will go to the floor for a vote.
Tell Your Congressperson not to vote for the Hyde/Smith/Oberstar amendment!