Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) announced Tuesday that they and five other Senators will be challenging the Mexico City Policy, reinstated by President Bush on February 15. The Mexico City, or Global Gag Rule, prohibits international family planning groups that provide abortion services or abortion counseling from receiving US funding, even if abortion services and counseling were paid for by private money. “The President’s rationale for re-imposing the gag rule was that he wanted to make abortions more rare. Yet the last time the Mexico City Policy was in effect, there was no reduction in the number of abortions, only reduced access to quality health care service, more unintended pregnancies and more abortions,” said Sen. Reid.
The senators will use the 1996 Congressional Review Act (CRA) in their efforts to repeal Bush’s executive order. The CRA allows the House and Senate to pass legislation that overturns regulations issued by federal departments and agencies. Senate Republicans successfully used the CRA two weeks ago to repeal former President Clinton’s workplace safety requirements. Thirty senators’ signatures are required to enact the CRA, all of which haven been gathered. The effort to overturn the Mexico City Policy will most likely succeed in the 50-50 split Senate, but could die in the Republican controlled House if leaders do not agree to bring it to the floor. President Bush could also stop the resolution with a veto.