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Senate Blocks Attempt to Cut Family-Planning Funds

The Senate has blocked a spending bill amendment that would have cut off Title X funding for US family planning to clinics that provide abortions, despite the abortions being funded by non-federal monies. Such a move would have been tantamount to applying the global gag rule within the US, and could have seriously impacted the 4,600 clinics receiving Title X funds. The amendment was proposed by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who apologized in July for “a very serious sin” after he was alleged to have been a regular customer of prostitutes.

A previous Title X gag rule was in effect under the George H W Bush administration, but never fully implemented. After years of court challenges, and protests from feminists and health groups, the rule was suspended by President Bill Clinton’s executive memo in 1993.

“(The Vitter) amendment will do nothing to reduce abortions,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told the Associated Press. “It will make contraceptives harder to get, so it will increase the number of unintended pregnancies.”

Sources:

Associated Press, 10/19/07; Planned Parenthood website; The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy, 8/00

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