May 17, 2019
It's a surreal thing to tune into a committee mark-up and see Democrats singing "Happy birthday to you." Before February, nothing about that would have seemed mildly ironic. But in a House majority that thinks birth days aren't always worth celebrating, Rep. Nita Lowey's (D-N.Y.) song suddenly feels a little off. Especially when that same chairwoman goes on to spend the next three hours arguing that Americans should make sure babies overseas never get born.
If Democrats get their way, there will be no "Happy birthday" song for who knows how many children. In the majority's debate over State Foreign Ops appropriations bill, the only thing liberals seemed to care about was sending more money to their international abortion pals. Right now, thanks to President Trump, there is no gravy train for groups masquerading as overseas health care groups. One of his first acts as president was rebuilding the wall called the Mexico City Policy that protects taxpayers from Planned Parenthood -- and international children from abortion.
Naturally, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) is infuriated by the idea that killing machines like Leana Wen's group would have to do their own fundraising. So, in the spending bill they're floating for 2020, they make a predictable move: inserting language that would eliminate the ban on overseas abortion promotion. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), a pro-life doctor and conservative stalwart, could only shake his head. When it was his turn with the microphone, he scolded Democrats for refusing to care where the American people are on this issue.
"My, my, my -- how extreme the pro-abortion lobby has become. Seventy-five percent of Americans oppose tax dollars funding overseas abortion. Pro-abortion lobby favors it. The governors of New York and Virginia talk about allowing a baby to die born-alive. The majority in the House won't vote on the born-alive act -- which 75 percent of Americans support. How extreme the pro-abortion lobby has become! This is not about health care -- this is about abortion. Because out of 733 prime providers in this program, only four have declined to participate under the Mexico City Policy. You know, quoting [international abortion group] Marie Stopes in all of this is like quoting Exxon about fossil fuels. They stand to lose tens of millions of dollars under this program. How extreme the pro-abortion lobby has become!"
Every year, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebr.) told me on Thursday's "Washington Watch," we go through this massive spending process every year. And every year, bipartisan ideas like no taxpayer-funding for abortion are in the crosshairs of the Democrats. "It's very, very sad," he said. In this intense process, "very important debates take place," he explained. "They're markers. They are the leading edge of the most significant philosophical debates and divides in the country. And if you saw that hearing today, you were on the front end of what is a deeply divisive issue in America... the possibility that our taxpayer funds will be entangled in the provision of abortion."
As much as the Left ignores it, even people who consider themselves "pro-choice" still don't want their taxpayer dollars funding abortion. "This is inconsistent with sound diplomacy in any context," he argued. "We're trying to create a culture in which we are in solidarity with other people," and yet the Democrats want to undermine their beliefs -- "disrupting the relationship that we have between two nations."
Another point Rep. Fortenberry tried to make during the mark-up was that America wants to use its leverage to help people around the world, "to create the space for a justice, to create the space for wellbeing and community life, to create the space for human dignity. And when you export something like [abortion], you're acting in a neo-colonial fashion, and you're imposing the most divisive issues of the West -- because we think we are intellectually superior and other people around the world are inferior. And that's not right."
Fortunately, President Trump and his administration agree. Earlier this year, he made his intentions quite clear in a letter he sent to Congress. "I will veto any legislation that weakens current prolife federal policies and laws or that encouraged the destruction of innocent human life at any stage." So Democrats can poison the bill all they want, but all of their work will be for naught. Because if this language stays the way it is, it goes one place: straight to the Senate or the president's desk to die.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.