House Democrats gutted a decades-old bipartisan agreement that prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortion overseas in legislation passed Wednesday.
Democrats removed the Helms Amendment from a foreign-related spending bill for the first time since it was introduced in 1973. The bill permanently removes the Mexico City policy, an executive order that Republican presidents have enacted to prevent taxpayer dollars from funding international organizations involved in abortion services. The House passed the bill Wednesday night by a 217 to 212 margin—with 3 Democrats voting against it.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said Democrats such as President Joe Biden used to support the Helms Amendment and other bipartisan pro-life protections but are flip-flopping because they rely too heavily on the abortion lobby.
"Abortion is violence against the most vulnerable, not ‘family planning,'" Dannenfelser said. "Americans should never be forced to subsidize abortion on demand through birth at home, to be complicit in human rights abuses overseas, or to export abortion extremism around the globe."
A January poll from Marist and the Knights of Columbus found that more than three-fourths of respondents oppose taxpayer dollars funding abortion in other countries.
America's domestic abortion policies are at odds with the rest of the world. The United States is one of only eight countries in the world that allow abortions past 20 weeks, along with China and North Korea. Recent studies have found U.S. abortion laws to be far more extreme than those in other democratic countries. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, more than half of European countries ban abortion after 12 weeks—a policy ruled unconstitutional in the United States.
Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action, said the bill is an example of Democrats forcing their radical abortion views on poorer nations.
"By eliminating the Helms Amendment, Democrats are attempting to impose an unwanted abortion imperialism on both taxpayers and developing nations, many of which have pro-life laws," McClusky said. "Abortion is not development assistance, and American taxpayers should not be forced to fund the abortion industry, either at home or abroad."
The legislation increases funding for the United Nations Population Fund, to which the Trump administration halted aid in 2017 because of the group's relationship with the Chinese Communist Party's family planning regimen.
The only three Democrats to vote against the larger bill, which came out of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs subcommittee, were noted "Squad" members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Cori Bush (Mo.). None of the dissenting Democrats responded to requests for comment.
Democrats also removed the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortion domestically, from a separate spending bill that passed in the House Thursday. Both spending bills will move to the Senate.