Pro-Life Groups Call on Bush to Keep Iraq Abortion-Free

By Lawrence Morahan | July 7, 2008 | 8:04 PM EDT

( - A coalition of pro-life groups Thursday called on President Bush not to let any money earmarked for Iraqi reconstruction go to fund abortion services in Iraq.

Judie Brown, president of the American Life League (ALL), said the Bush administration has a track record of providing "morning-after pills" in several countries, including Afghanistan, through U.S. government agencies.

"Our government has no business promoting the death of innocent pre-born children in any country on this earth, and that is why we have asked the president to make absolutely sure that is not done in Iraq," Brown told "We know that the Bush administration has condoned such activities in other countries."

The groups called on the president to stipulate that none of the $87 billion in supplemental spending for Iraq and Afghanistan fund chemical or surgical abortions, or family planning for Iraqis.

The pro-life coalition, which was represented by Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition and Rev. Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council, held a news conference across from the White House.

Many Iraqis already are resentful of U.S. government involvement in their country, even though they're happy to be rid of Saddam Hussein, Brown said.

"For the U.S. government now to go over there with all this money and impose certain population control advocacy programs on these people would, I think, result in a disaster," Brown said.

Senate and House negotiators reached agreement on the $87 billion funding bill late Wednesday, clearing the way for both chambers to pass a final package before the end of the week.

Of the $87 billion, about $18.4 billion will go to Iraqi reconstruction and Iraqi security forces.

Bush has the ability to ensure that none of the funds are used to perform or promote abortion by applying a Mexico City-type gag rule on abortion services, said Erik Whittington, a spokesman for ALL.

The Mexico City Policy bars distribution of U.S. family planning funds to clinics in other countries that provide abortion or abortion counseling, or lobby for change in abortion policies.

The policy was announced two decades ago during President Ronald Reagan's administration. President Bill Clinton lifted the controversial ban on his first day in office; Bush reinstated it immediately after his election.

The coalition also called on the president to use his executive powers to ensure that none of the money is used to fund "contraceptive-based family planning" efforts by organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

Americans already are forced to subsidize social programs that are potentially destructive to the family, including Title X funding that allots millions of dollars every year to fund the promotion of abortion through groups such as Planned Parenthood, Whittington said.

Sending more tax dollars to the international arm of Planned Parenthood to fund abortion and contraception in Iraq would be a slap in the face to most Americans, Whittington said.

Calls to Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice for comment were not returned.

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