January 15, 2001
volume 12, no. 15
Bush Opposes Tax Dollarls for Pro-Abortion Groups, Ashcroft Fight Continues

    WASHINGTON, DC (NY Post from - President-elect George W. Bush has signaled he's likely to cut off federal funds for groups that promote or perform abortions overseas. "Organizations that promote abortions are organizations I don't want to support" with taxpayer funds, Bush told The New York Times in an interview published today.

    Bush can do that with an executive order, reversing a policy President Clinton put into effect two days after taking office. Clinton and Congress cut a deal in October providing $425 million in federal funds for such pro-abortion groups but delaying the spending until Feb. 15 so the new president could set the policy. At the time, Congressional leaders hoped Bush would win and would cut off the funds.

    Meanwhile, many abortion advocacy groups, like Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women, are actively involved in the fight to block Bush's choice for attorney general, pro-life Senator John Ashcroft.

    A Republican staff member indicated some pro-abortion leaders would be appearing Tuesday to speak against Ashcroft at the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and Kate Michelman, president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League will testify. Kay James, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and past executive of the Family Research Council, is one of the more prominent pro-life witnesses who will offer testimony on behalf of Ashcroft.

    Pro-life Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), the Senate Majority Leader, has said he is confident all 50 Republicans will back Ashcroft -- a move that would ensure Ashcroft's nomination. Some pro-life Congressional leaders have been concerned that pro-abortion Republicans would cave in and vote against Ashcroft. However, one such pro-abortion Republican, Sen. Jeffords of Vermont, has indicated he will support Ashcroft's nomination.

    Pro-abortion leaders viewed the situation differently.

    NARAL's Kate Michaelman said, "I'm not Trent Lott, and I'm not counting as he is, but I don't think this in any shape or form is over."

    Americans are split over whether Ashcroft should be confirmed or rejected, a new poll shows. The Newsweek magazine survey found 41 percent of American adults say Ashcroft is too extreme and should be rejected while 37 percent support him, echoing the close division in the U.S. Senate. That's a statistical tie given the poll's error margin of 3 points, which means the ratio against Ashcroft could range from as much as 44 percent to 34 percent or it could be 40 percent to 38 percent in his favor.

    "That's no surprise given all the misinformation out there," said Bush spokeswoman Mindy Tucker. "The more people understand the facts, the more they'll realize that John Ashcroft will be the most qualified attorney general we've ever had."

    But while Ashcroft is controversial, Bush's Cabinet picks as a group get good reviews from 57 percent, the Newsweek poll found.

For other news stories, see

January 15, 2001
volume 12, no. 15
Church News in the USA

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