The Senate Appropriations Committee voted today in favor of an amendment to the Senate Foreign Operations bill that would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. The gag rule, imposed as an executive order of the President, was lifted by President Obama in January 2009. It prohibited international organizations that mentioned, referred, or in any other way discussed abortion from receiving U.S. international family planning assistance. The Gag Rule was imposed by Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. It was lifted by Clinton and Obama, but could be reinstated by another President. Efforts have been underway in the advocacy community for years to permanently kill the Gag Rule, which could be achieved by a law passed by Congress.
Via press release from Population Action International (PAI):
This afternoon, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) successfully offered an amendment to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule during the Senate Appropriations Committee’s consideration of the bill that funds the State Department and U.S. foreign assistance programs.
The amendment prevailed on a vote of 19 to 11 with all committee Democrats, except Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), and two Republican women—Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)—supporting the amendment. The other ten Republicans on the committee opposed the Lautenberg amendment. Joining Sen. Lautenberg in cosponsoring the anti-Gag Rule amendment were Sens. Collins, Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).
The next step is to have the full Senate vote to pass the repeal as part of the appropriations process.