05.06.01

CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE, AUTHORS OF BI-PARTISAN LANGUAGE TO OVERTURN MEXICO CITY POLICY URGE SECRETARY POWELL'S SUPPORT

Washington, DC - Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) today joined Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and James Greenwood (R-PA), in sending a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell urging his support of the Foreign Relations Authorizations Act for FY02 and FY03, which contains language to overturn the Mexico City Policy.

The bipartisan letter requests a meeting with Secretary Powell to discuss strategies to convince the Administration to reverse its Mexico City Policy and put an end to a measure which prevents foreign Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from using their own funds for family planning services. The Act includes an amendment offered by Lee containing the text of a H.R. 755, the Global Democracy Protection Act, a bipartisan bill authored by Nita Lowey (D-NY), Christopher Shays (R-CT), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and James Greenwood (R-PA).

"This is not about allowing NGOs to use federal funds to perform abortions. Since 1973, under the Helms Amendment to the
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the United States has PROHIBITED foreign recipients of international family planning aid to use U.S. taxpayer funds to perform abortions," said Lee. "The bill would not fund abortions but would allow foreign NGOs receiving U.S. aid to use their OWN funds for providing vital family planning services."

"It is crucial that women across the world have fundamental access to health care. Our support of international family planning
helps save lives, promotes women's and children's health, and strengthens families and communities around the world," said
Lee. "Often, family planning clinics are the only point of contact women have with the health care system in some countries. It is essential that family planning counseling as well as information about HIV/AIDS prevention be provided."

On May 03, 2001, the House International Relations Committee voted 26-22 to pass an amendment to the Foreign Relations
Authorizations Act for FY02 and FY03 offered by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) to overturn the Memorandum issued by President Bush re-instating the Mexico City international family planning policy.

"This language, which received bipartisan support on the International Relations Committee, will allow organizations to provide a wide range of vital family planning services that will help curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases," said Lee. "By
denying these vital services, we deny women access to methods of contraception, leading to a higher risk of spreading the
HIV/AIDS virus."

"The Mexico City policy would be unconstitutional in this country. We should not impose these unfair, dangerous provisions on women in other nations," concluded Lee.

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