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President’s Jan. 22 pro-life order countered by 2 Senate committees

WASHINGTON (BP)–Two Senate committees have repudiated President Bush by voting to overturn a pro-life policy he reinstituted earlier this year.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved legislation Aug. 1 that would once again provide government funds to organizations that perform or promote abortions in foreign countries, according to a report on Pro-life Infonet. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a similar provision July 26 as part of a one-year foreign aid spending bill, according to the report.

The committee action came six months after Bush issued an executive order prohibiting family planning funding to those international organizations that perform or counsel for abortion, or lobby in order to liberalize the pro-life policies of foreign governments. His action Jan. 22, his second full day in office, re-established the Mexico City policy, so named for the city where its inauguration by President Reagan was announced at a conference in 1984. Bush’s move elicited strong criticism from abortion-rights groups.

President Clinton rescinded the Mexico City policy on his second full day in office, Jan. 22, 1993.

The Foreign Relations Committee voted 12-7 for the measure, with Republican Sens. Gordon Smith of Oregon and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island joining 10 Democratic members in the majority.

If the Senate approves the legislation, it would set up a conflict with Bush and the House of Representatives. The House already has voted in support of Bush’s order, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, an abortion rights organization, announced Aug. 1 it would appeal a New York federal judge’s dismissal of its challenge of the Mexico City policy, according to Pro-life Infonet. The day before, federal Judge Loretta Preska threw out the suit, the report said. The appeal will be made to the Second District Circuit Court of Appeals.

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