Religious Right Aims to Block U.S. Funding for Population Programs
Religious Right groups have launched a lobbying offensive to slash funding for U.S.-supported birth control programs overseas.
Congress is scheduled to vote this month on funding for population control measures in developing countries. The Clinton administration has recommended upping the appropriation for international family planning programs by $123 million. Religious Right groups are determined to block the proposal in Congress.
Both Focus on the Family and its Washington ally, the Family Research Council, have urged members to blitz Congress with letters and faxes demanding a no vote on the aid, unless the funds are restricted to groups that do not provide abortion services. The Christian Coalition has also joined the crusade, identifying the vote as one of its most important early efforts in the 105th Congress.
Observers say the restrictions supported by the Religious Right are meant to hurt International Planned Parenthood and other organizations the Religious Right dislikes. Restricting aid to groups that do not even discuss abortion as an option means that the funds could end up flowing to religiously affiliated organizations or other militantly anti-abortion groups, many of which actively oppose the use of artificial contraception.
Roman Catholic groups that work overseas, for example, follow church dogma and condemn most forms of birth control except "natural" methods. …