Republicans Threaten to Withhold U.N. Dues Over Abortion

Leading congressional Republicans Rep. Christopher Smith, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, House Republican Leader Dick Armey and Republican Whip Tom DeLay have pledged to block President Clinton from paying arrears to the U.N. until he agrees to allow a provision, sponsored by Smith, which would eliminate U.S. aid to international family planning groups that perform abortions, refer women to abortion providers, or advocate legalized abortion in any way.

The U.S. currently owes $1.6 billion in past dues, and could lose its right to vote in the U.N. General Assembly if it falls much further behind on its payments. Last year, the U.S. paid just enough to retain its right to vote.

Clinton has promised to veto any funding package that includes Smith’s provision, and Republicans intend to make him suffer for it. Smith said, “We have many ideas up our sleeves,” and said that Republicans plan to attach his provision to other White House initiatives if need be. “I assure you, if this president’s going to insist on promoting abortion globally, there’s going to be all kinds of monkey wrenches in what he wants to do…We will fight until the cows come home.”


CNN - March 3, 1999

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