1998 Scorecard Vote

International Family Planning Funding
Senate Roll Call Vote 105
Issue: Other

Currently estimated at 5.9 billion, the world's human population is expected to grow by approximately one billion every 12 or 13 years. This rapid population growth, by exacerbating pollution and accelerating the depletion of natural resources, constitutes one of the most serious threats to a healthy and sustainable environment.

For more than 30 years, the United States has worked to stabilize human population growth by contributing funds to voluntary family planning programs worldwide. In recent years, family planning opponents have cut federal funding for these programs by arguing, in part, that the money funds abortions. In fact, current law prohibits U.S. foreign assistance moneys from funding abortion, and there are no reports that any organization receiving U.S. funds has ever violated this prohibition.

In addition, family planning supporters note that improving access to voluntary family planning not only protects the life and health of women and children, it is also one of the best ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

The House-Senate conference report for the State Department authorization bill, H.R. 1757, included an amendment by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) to deny U.S. family planning funds for nongovernmental organizations that are involved in any abortion-related activities, even if those activities are paid for with non-U.S. government funds. Direct U.S. government funding for abortions overseas has been prohibited since 1973. But family planning opponents now seek to bar organizations from receiving U.S. funds if they use funds derived from any source, including their own government, for abortion.

By denying funding to some of the most experienced and qualified providers of family planning services and maternal and child health care, these restrictions threaten to damage efforts to slow population growth and to protect the environment. The Smith amendment would allow the President to waive the ban on funding for organizations that perform legal abortions with non-U.S. funds, but such an action would trigger an overall funding cut of $44 million--thus threatening all family planning programs with funding reductions, regardless of whether they perform abortions.

Since there was no opportunity to strike this amendment from the conference report or for members to vote separately on the specific merits of these population-related issues, the vote on final passage of the conference report became a referendum on senators' positions on international family planning programs.

On April 28, 1998, the Senate passed the State Department authorization bill conference report, 51 - 49. NO is the pro-environment vote. President Clinton threatened to veto the bill.

No
is the
pro-environment position
Votes For: 51  
Votes Against: 49  
Not Voting: 0  
Pro-environment vote
Anti-environment vote
Missed vote
Not applicable
Senator Party State Vote