March 22, 2001
volume 12, no. 81

Senators Try to Overturn Bush Rule on Abortion Funding

Clinton Attempted to Redefine "Child" and "Fetus"

    WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 21, 01 ( - A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a resolution on Tuesday to overturn President George W. Bush's decision banning federal aid to international population control groups that provide or advocate abortion.

    Bush implemented the new regulations on his first day in office, reinstating the Mexico City policy that was revoked by his predecessor Bill Clinton. The administration's rule "is an ill-conceived, anti-woman, and anti-American policy," said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada. "He turned the clock back on women around the world by almost two decades." Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, said the rule "is leading to an increase in the number of deaths related to unsafe abortions by denying women access to information, access to adequate care as well as counseling."

    The resolution uses the 1996 Congressional Review Act that allows Congress to pass legislation rejecting regulations issued by federal departments and agencies. It was most recently used after Clinton left office to overturn rules imposed by him regarding workplace injuries.

    The resolution requires 30 senators to support it before it can be brought to the floor for debate and a vote, which Boxer and Reid say they have. However, the Republican-controlled House is unlikely to support the resolution and Bush would likely veto the resolution if it reached his desk.

    Despite the problem, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, said: "I believe there is a lot of support in Congress for family planning. I think the regulation will be overturned."

    Meanwhile it was learned Wednesday that the Clinton administration had passed regulations, during the last days in office, that would have redefined the terms "fetus" and "child" to allow the legal use of newborns in scientific research, according to Conservative News Service (

    The Clinton administration had approved the regulation on January 17, but it was suspended by the Bush administration, along with a plethora of other last-minutes rules changes. The regulation had stated that a newborn is still considered a "fetus" until it determined the baby will live by "independently maintaining a heartbeat and respiration," said. After this determination, the baby would be considered a "child" under the law.

    The 60-day moratorium on Clinton's new regulations expired on March 19, but a coalition of pro-life congressmen convinced Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson to extend the moratorium on the fetus rule another 60 days.

    "If this rule is allowed to proceed, the position of the federal Department of Health and Human Services with regard to 'human research subjects' will be that babies born alive are not necessarily children," the congressmen wrote. "This cannot and should not be the position of an agency tasked with defending children and protecting life."

    Some pro-life groups criticized the extension of the moratorium, saying the regulation should be undone, and not just delayed. "It shouldn't take 60 days to see how bad this is, it only took me forty-five minutes," said American Life League spokesman Patrick Delaney.

March 22, 2001
volume 12, no. 81
Pro Life News
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