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Last Updated: Friday, 22 June 2007, 01:16 GMT 02:16 UK
US House opposes abortion aid ban
Condoms being made in Thailand - file photo
The measure allows US aid to overseas family planning groups
The US House of Representatives has voted to overturn a ban on aid to overseas groups practising abortion.

The move was approved by 223 votes to 201, but it is unlikely to be signed by President George W Bush.

Earlier this week the White House said he would veto any legislation weakening current federal policies on abortion.

The ban, introduced in 1984, prohibits US contraceptive aid being sent to foreign family planning clinics and organisations which practice abortions.

Nita Lowey, the Democratic Representative who wrote the legislation, said that although the move would lift the ban, the prohibition on direct funding of abortions would remain.

She added that the bill would help "reduce unintended and high-risk pregnancies and abortions... and save the lives of mothers".

Many Republicans disagree, saying aid, including condoms and other contraceptives, would free up resources for overseas organisations to perform abortions.

"The violence of abortion will increase," said Republican Representative Christopher Smith.

The Democratic Party controls both houses of Congress.

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