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Wednesday, 16 May, 2001, 18:03 GMT 19:03 UK
House backs Bush on abortion
George W Bush moves to ensure the US does not fund abortion abroad
The ban was one of the first steps taken by Bush in the White House
The US House of Representatives has voted in favour of President George Bush's proposal to ban aid to organisations abroad that discuss or advocate abortion rights.

The Republican-controlled House voted 218-210 in support Mr Bush's policy.


When we subsidise and lavish federal funds on abortion organisations, we empower the child abusers

New Jersey Republican Representative Chris Smith

Thirty-two Democrats joined Republicans in approving the ban. Thirty-three Republicans voted against it. The majority of Democrats attacked the policy as detrimental to global family planning efforts.

Supporters of the ban said US taxpayers should not be required to foot the bill for abortions.

"When we subsidise and lavish federal funds on abortion organisations, we empower the child abusers," said New Jersey Republican Representative Chris Smith who has led the campaign in support of the ban.


In America, this language would be unconstitutional. It's unconscionable that we would impose it on the world's poorest women

New York Democrat Representative Carolyn Maloney

But critics of the ban call it "a global gag rule" that imposes free speech restrictions on family planning groups and could lead to even more risky abortions worldwide by denying crucial counselling and pregnancy care.

Opponents of te ban say 600,000 women die each year around the globe because of pregnancy complications and inadequate health care.

"In America, this language would be unconstitutional. It's unconscionable that we would impose it on the world's poorest women," said New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney.

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See also:

03 May 01 | Americas
Abortion ban setback for Bush
27 Apr 01 | Americas
US House reopens abortion debate
23 Jan 01 | Americas
Bush blocks abortion funding
24 Jan 01 | Americas
Analysis: Bush's abortion signal
23 Jan 01 | Americas
EU condemns Bush abortion move
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