The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to approve a bill funding the State Department. Tragically, for the first time in nearly five decades, the appropriations bill did not include an amendment which prohibits U.S. taxpayer dollars from funding abortions overseas.
The bill, Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Program Appropriations Act, 2022 (H.R. 4373), passed in a 217-212 vote.
According to a summary of the bill, the legislation provides monetary appropriations for the State Department, foreign agencies and programs, commissions, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other agencies and initiatives.
It’s important to note that since the U.S. Supreme Court concocted a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973, the Helms Amendment has been included in every annual bill funding the U.S. Department of State.
But no longer.
The amendment was removed from the funding bill, permitting tax dollars taken from hardworking Americans to fund abortions overseas.
“For the first time in a decade, this bill increases funding for bilateral family planning to $760 million and more than doubles our contribution to UNFPA,” Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said in a statement. Rep. Lee was the sponsor of H.R. 4373.
“I am especially proud to have fought for the elimination of Helms Amendment restrictions that have prohibited safe abortion and health care services for people in low-income countries for decades,” Rep. Lee added.
The UNFPA stands for the United Nations Population Fund, which, as The Daily Citizen was previously reported, “promotes abortions internationally and has been deeply involved in China’s one child policy, which resulted in the abandonment of thousands of female children and the forced abortion and sterilization of an unknown number of babies and women.”
The bill allocates $70 million to the UNFPA.
Representative Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said in a statement, “Of greatest concern is the removal of the most important condition in any state, foreign operations bill that no funds can be used to pay for abortion. The removal of that language is unprecedented.”
Additionally, Ipas is an international organization which, according to its website, “works globally to expand access to abortion and contraception.” Senior policy advisor for the group, Bethany Van Kampen, said the vote was “truly historic.”
“It’s been almost 50 years, and this is the first vote on Helms repeal ever, since it began in 1973. To say that we are excited is an understatement. It really is history being made,” Van Kampen added.
A poll conducted in 2020 by the Knights of Columbus and Marist, found that even though 55% of Americans consider themselves pro-choice, an overwhelming 76% of voters oppose or strongly oppose “using tax dollars to support abortions in other countries.”
The poll also revealed that 36% of pro-choice Americans opposed using taxpayer dollars for that purpose, along with 95% of pro-life Americans.
The appropriations bill now goes to the U.S. Senate. According to Time Magazine, “The changes face long odds in the evenly divided Senate, where moderate Democrats and Republicans have said they oppose removing the abortion limits.”
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