2009 Scorecard Vote
By allowing women to plan the size of their families, voluntary family-planning programs also help conserve natural resources in areas where expanding human numbers threaten biodiversity and endangered species and help to reduce human vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Since the mid-1990s, family-planning opponents have cut U.S. funding for these programs by arguing, in part, that the money funds abortion. In fact, the use of U.S. foreign assistance to fund abortion has been prohibited since 1973.
On his third full day in office, President Obama rescinded Bush administration restrictions that prohibited U.S. assistance for foreign nongovernmental organizations that use funding from any other source to: 1) perform abortion in cases other than a threat to the life of the woman, rape, or incest; 2) provide counseling and referral for abortion; or 3) lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their own country.
The Bush administration's gag rule had forced clinics in Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia and Ghana to close down. The rule has also cut off many family-planning organizations from contraceptive supplies and impeded efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortion and to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
During debate on an unrelated State Children's Health Insurance Program reauthorization bill, Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) offered an amendment to restore the Bush administration's policy by nullifying President Obama's January 23 presidential memorandum and by prohibiting U.S. family planning assistance to "any private, nongovernmental, or multilateral organization that performs or actively promotes abortion as a method of birth control."
On January 28, the Senate rejected the Martinez amendment by a 37-60 vote (Senate roll call vote 19). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.