Clinton asks to end ban on aid linked to abortion

Deal with Congress ended foreign funding

January 09, 2000|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- President Clinton said yesterday that he would urge Congress to reverse course on a law that he reluctantly signed that bans U.S. money from going to international organizations that perform abortions or promote abortion rights.

Congressional Republicans insisted on the abortion-funding ban as part of a spending package eagerly sought by the administration to free nearly $1 billion that the United States owed to the United Nations. Clinton's compromise drew the wrath of abortion-rights advocates.

Clinton said in his radio address that he would seek more than $200 million in his fiscal 2001 budget proposal for domestic and international family planning programs and would urge Congress to end the anti-abortion restrictions imposed on U.S. funds this fiscal year.

"I am asking Congress to support these funds, to provide them without restrictions that hamper the work of family planning organizations and even bar [the organizations] from discussing or debating reproductive health policies," Clinton said.

He said he would advocate the largest increase in domestic family planning services in more than two decades, $35 million, to boost spending to $274 million. The funds would be shared by 4,600 clinics and pay for contraceptives, teen-age pregnancy programs and health screenings, he said.

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