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House Foreign Operations Bill Would Reinstate 'Global Gag Rule,' Block UNFPA Funding

House Foreign Operations Bill Would Reinstate 'Global Gag Rule,' Block UNFPA Funding

May 9, 2012 — House Republicans on Tuesday released a fiscal year 2013 spending bill for foreign aid and other State Department programs that includes a rider to reinstate the so-called "global gag rule," The Hill's "Global Affairs" reports (Pecquet, "Global Affairs," The Hill, 5/8). The rule, which President Obama lifted through an executive order in 2009, blocks U.S. foreign aid to countries or organizations that use their own money to offer abortion services or support abortion rights (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/23/11).

The provision was included in a House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations subcommittee bill, which the panel is scheduled to mark up on Wednesday.

The bill contains several other provisions that are opposed by the Obama administration and congressional Democrats (Rogin, "The Cable," Foreign Policy, 5/8). According to a summary on the House Appropriations Committee website, the bill would bar funding to the United Nations Population Fund and cap spending on family planning and reproductive health programs at no more than FY 2008 levels.

The summary states that the bill also would maintain the Tiahrt Amendment, "which ensures family planning programs are voluntary"; the Helms Amendment, "which bans foreign aid from being spent on abortions"; and the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, "which prohibits funds to organizations the President determines to support coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization" ("Global Affairs," The Hill, 5/8).