Adios Mexico City Policy?
May 25, 2012 - Friday
Weeks like this one should make us grateful for the times when the Senate does nothing! The more work Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) does, the less secure our values seem to be. Yesterday, during a rare moment of Senate activity, leaders tried to turn an appropriations bill into a permanent repeal of pro-life law. Under Sen. Frank Lautenberg's language, the U.S. would agree to send millions of dollars to international groups whether they provide abortions or not. For years, Presidents have batted the issue back and forth, starting with Ronald Reagan--who first issued the Mexico City Policy to turn off the funding spigots to overseas organizations who promote abortion as "family planning." He understood that the best way to reduce abortions is by cutting off the money to abortion organizations.
Unfortunately, President Clinton disagreed. When he took office, he overturned the policy--which kicked off a pattern of repealing and reinstating that's been repeated by Democratic and Republican Presidents right up to Barack Obama. Since the Mexico City Policy isn't law, its fate has always been determined by the Oval Office. Sen. Lautenberg's amendment would change all that. His measure would make it impossible for a pro-life President to trump the law with an executive order. As far as the Left is concerned, this amendment would guarantee that " this backwards policy never returns and protects access to family planning services for some of the world's poorest women."
Before heading out of town for Memorial Day, he managed to persuade enough members of the Appropriations Committee to pass his amendment 18-12. On the bright side, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson (Nebr.) sided with the GOP. It's just too bad that a trio of squishy Republicans, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), couldn't find the backbone to join him. If there is a silver lining, it's that the lower chamber voted down a similar amendment 23-27 last week. If Sen. Lindsey Graham's comments are any indication, the two sides are setting up a major collision on the overall legislation if this issue isn't resolved. "The House will not accept this," he said. "It will take the bill off into a ditch." From what we know about the Senate's version, that's exactly where it belongs!
A Philly Stake in the Ground on Values
Gov. Mitt Romney didn't get the warmest of welcomes when he hopped off the campaign bus in West Philadelphia, but it may have been one of his best stops as far as family values were concerned. To the surprise of most Philly residents, the Massachusetts Governor drove right into the heart of urban Pennsylvania to get his message out about education and school choice. He made it clear to a group of black leaders and administrators that his approach to helping disadvantaged students is three-fold: better teachers, better administrators and two-parent homes. "For a single mom living in a shelter with a couple of kids, those kids are at an enormous disadvantage. There is no question about that, relative to a home where a mom and a dad are able to be home for dinner," he said. "Having two parents in a home makes an enormous difference. So if we're thinking about the kids of tomorrow, trying to help move people to understand getting married and having families where there is a mom and dad together, has a big impact. And in my view that's critical down the road."
His comments were good sound bites--but they were even sounder policy. In study after study, FRC's MARRI team has proven that the intact married family that worships weekly is the greatest predictor of students' success. To hear Gov. Romney pick up on that theme where Sen. Rick Santorum left off is a great encouragement to every conservative who cares about the values of family.
Watching the Watchmen
This afternoon, FRC closed out its ninth annual Watchmen on the Wall conference after commissioning hundreds of pastors to return to their communities with a fire to engage the culture. They came to Washington to be encouraged, and they left challenged to make a difference in their communities, states, and our nation. The charge to the Watchmen is simple, but profound: pray, preach, and partner. We believe that the problems facing America are not only political and cultural--but also spiritual. And if we're going to find solutions, we'd better start looking to the church. To find out more about FRC's ministry to pastors and how you can get involved, check out www.watchmenpastors.org.
** While Americans are enjoying the long weekend, FRC's Bob Morrison's reminds us that Memorial Day is about more than pool parties and picnics. Join us in saluting the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Bob's column, "If We Forget."
*** Tune in for a special Watchmen on the Wall edition of Washington Watch Weekly, as I interview three of the pastors at FRC's conference about what they're doing in their communities to make a difference. Also, Mary Ann Glendon, Former Ambassador to the Vatican and Harvard Law Professor, will be on the show to talk about the lawsuit filed by 43 Catholic organizations against the Obama administration over the health care mandate. For more information or to find a radio station near you, visit FRCRadio.org.