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Romney, Ryan Would Support U.S. Cuts In International Family Planning Aid

“If [Republican presidential nominee Gov.] Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, were to win next month’s election, the harm to women’s reproductive rights would extend far beyond the borders of the United States,” a New York Times editorial says. In the U.S., “they would support the recriminalization of abortion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and they would limit access to contraception and other services,” according to the editorial, which adds “they have also promised to promote policies abroad that would affect millions of women in the world’s poorest countries, where lack of access to contraception, prenatal care and competent help at childbirth often results in serious illness and thousands of deaths yearly.”

The editorial continues, “Romney has pledged that, on his first day in the White House, he would reinstate” the Mexico City Policy, or so-called “global gag rule” — “the odious restriction” that prohibits U.S. foreign aid from going to any organization that performs abortions or provides information about or referral for the procedure as a method of family planning. The rule, instated and reinstated under the last three Republican presidents, does “nothing to prevent use of government financing for abortions because that was already illegal under federal law,” the editorial notes. However, the rule “badly hampered the work of family-planning groups overseas,” the New York Times writes and provides examples. “Romney also vows to renew another of George W. Bush’s shameful policies (which was ended by President Obama), which blocked the United States from contributing to the United Nations Population Fund,” the editorial continues, noting, “[O]verall support for international family planning and reproductive health programs stands at $610 million — far short of the need.” The editorial concludes, “House Republicans want to cut the nation’s investment in international family planning severely. Mr. Romney’s record of bending to suit the most extreme elements of the Republican Party suggests that he may well go along on this critical issue as well” (10/19).