President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state contends American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions, a position that contradicts the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution.
James B. Steinberg’s written testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was highlighted by Sen. Jim DeMint, a pro-life Republican serving South Carolina.
In a written response to DeMint’s questions, Steinberg said the Mexico City policy — the newly overturned policy that forbade taxpayer subsidization of abortions overseas — “is an unnecessary restriction that, if applied to organizations based in this country, would be an unconstitutional limitation on free speech.”
Not so, said DeMint, pointing out Steinberg’s stance is in direct opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court.
DeMint cited the 1991 Rust vs. Sullivan decision in which the court ruled, “The government has no constitutional duty to subsidize an activity merely because it is constitutionally protected, and may validly choose to allocate public funds for medical services relating to childbirth but not to abortion.”
DeMint had asked: “For more than 30 years the Hyde amendments, which prohibit federal funding for abortion services, have been supported by Republican and Democrat administrations and Congresses. Unfortunately, while this is the domestic policy of the United States, President Obama has vowed to reverse our foreign policy by repealing the Mexico City policy and use the federal taxpayer dollars to fund abortion services overseas. Do you support President Obama’s efforts to lift the Mexico City restrictions? Do you believe our foreign policy should contradict long held domestic policies?”
Steinberg’s complete response was, “President Obama has supported repeal of the Mexico City policy, as has Secretary Clinton. Longstanding law, authored by Senator Jesse Helms, expressly prohibits the use of U.S. funds [for] abortion. The Mexico City policy is an unnecessary restriction that, if applied to organizations based in this country, would be an unconstitutional limitation on free speech.”
Just days ago, Obama imposed an executive order repealing the Mexico City policy that during President Bush’s tenure protected Americans from being required to fund groups that promote and pay for abortions around the globe.
The plan was originated by President Reagan in 1984. It prohibited non-governmental organizations that receive federal funds from providing or promoting abortions in other nations. President Clinton rescinded the rule Jan. 22, 1993, calling it “excessively broad” and “unwarranted.”
But when President Bush took office in January 2001, he immediately issued an executive order reinstituting the pro-life policy.
“It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortion or actively promote abortion,” Bush said.
International Planned Parenthood Federation and other abortion groups refused to conform to the ban. They continued to provide and promote abortions and, consequently, were denied access to funding from U.S. taxpayers.
A Jan. 16 letter from 77 members of Congress posted by Life News had urged Obama to continue the ban.
“[T]his policy is important because it establishes a bright line between family planning activities and abortion, therefore ensuring that United States family planning funds are not co-opted by groups who promote abortion as a method of family planning,” the letter stated. “Such activities would send a wrong message overseas that the United States promotes abortion.”
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told the Washington Post, “President Obama issued executive orders banning the torture of terrorists but … signed an order that exports the torture of unborn children around the world.”
Perkins noted that Obama vowed at the debate with Republican candidate Sen. John McCain last fall at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church to find “common ground” on the issue of abortion and that he, as president, would work to “reduce the number of abortions.”
“His action today flies in the face of that vow and probably sets a record as the most quickly broken campaign promise ever,” Perkins said.
The Rust vs. Sullivan decision says rules and regulations regarding abortion funding were consistent with the Constitution.
“Indeed, the legislative history demonstrates that Congress intended that Title X funds be kept separate and distinct from abortion-related activities,” the opinion said.
“The regulations do not violate the First Amendment free speech rights of private Title X fund recipients, their staffs, or their patients by impermissibly imposing viewpoint-discriminatory conditions on Government subsidies. There is no question but that [the] prohibition is constitutional, since the government may make a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion, and implement that judgment by the allocation of public funds,” the opinion continued.
“Similarly, in implementing the statutory prohibition by forbidding counseling, referral, and the provision of information regarding abortion as a method of family planning, the regulations simply ensure that appropriated funds are not used for activities, including speech, that are outside the federal program’s scope.”
As a state lawmaker in Illinois, Obama opposed mandated physician help for babies who survive abortions.
The president has promised to sign the “Freedom of Choice Act,” a sweeping bill that would abolish pro-life rules and regulations across the nation.
The organization FightFOCA.com, launched to oppose the plan, already has collected 500,000 signatures in opposition.
According to Pastor Rick Scorborough of Vision America, more than 500 state, federal and local laws would be destroyed by the action.
“There are not enough words to convey the seriousness of this piece of legislation. Now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand and hope this will go away. It won’t. If we don’t do something about it, the basic fundamental right to be born will be taken from millions of unborn children, ironically, in the name of ‘freedom,'” Scarborough wrote.
Among the laws that would be overturned are the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, the Hyde Amendment restricting taxpayer funding of abortions inside the U.S., informed consent laws, waiting period laws, parental consent and notification laws, requirements that abortion businesses follow health regulations, a ban on non-physicians doing abortions and bans on abortions of babies who can survive outside the womb.