For Immediate Release

Statement on the Omnibus Spending Bill/Contraceptives Exemption

WASHINGTON - Statement by Amy Coen, President/CEO of Population Action International, on the omnibus spending bill that omits a provision that would have reduced the need for abortions in developing countries:

In an historical move this year, members of Congress on both sides of the abortion debate agreed to pass a foreign aid spending bill that would reduce unintended pregnancies and the need for abortions in developing countries. It would have allowed an exemption to the Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy) so that the U.S. government could donate contraceptives to foreign organizations providing family planning services abroad. However, the President's repeated threat to veto any bill that included the contraceptive language forced Congress to drop the provision in the omnibus spending bill the House and Senate will vote on this week.

STATEMENT: We commend members of Congress -- on both sides of the abortion debate -- for finding common ground to improve the lives of women and their children, thus reducing unintended pregnancies, abortion, and HIV infection through greater access to contraceptives. It is tragic that President Bush was unable to follow their lead. His persistent threat to veto the foreign assistance bill doomed this life-saving measure. It is unconscionable for a president to ignore the majority of the members of Congress, the majority of Americans and the best interests of millions of human beings because he is blinded by his own narrow beliefs. Today the shadow of one man darkens the lives of so many.

-- Amy Coen, President/CEO of Population Action International



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