(CNSNews.com) - The Republican congressional leadership caved to President Clinton when it approved a $35-million increase for family planning in next year's Labor and Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill, pro-life groups said.
The House and Senate subcommittees for Labor-HHS have approved $35 million for family planning under Title X, a large percentage of which will go to Planned Parenthood, they said.
While Planned Parenthood said it has earmarked the money to fund family planning services, conservative groups say the appropriation in effect reimburses the abortion service provider an estimated $7 million to $10 million it spent to defeat pro-life Republicans in elections.
"I think for us as pro-lifers to describe Republicans as the 'party of life' is a total injustice to the children we are supposed to be defending," said Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, one of the country's foremost pro-life groups, on the Congress' action.
"This tells me that individual human beings choose to be pro-life or pro-abortion, not parties," she said.
ALL estimates that Planned Parenthood will receive about $7 million of the $35 million increase, bringing its total Title X share to about $52 million.
"We're extremely disappointed that the Republicans have not fought for families and unborn children," said Wendy Wright, a spokeswoman with Concerned Women for America.
"They could have fought for continuing resolution and let all these policy decisions be decided in the next Congress with a new administration that is friendly towards families. But instead they decided to cut a deal that binds taxpayers for the next year to bad policies," she said.
Donald Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, said the Republican leadership caved to President Clinton. "This is nothing less than a pay-off to Planned Parenthood for its campaign activities," he said.
Congressional leaders of both parties met with Clinton on Monday in an effort to wrap up work on the FY 2001 budget before returning to the Capitol to pass another continuing resolution to keep the government funded through Friday.
Congress was busy cutting $3.7 billion from a pre-election version of the conference report on the bill (HR 4577). The new target will nevertheless permit discretionary spending for labor, health and education programs to increase by 12 percent over the fiscal 2000 level.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Ark.) asked the House to file a final bill Wednesday, in time for both chambers to vote by the end of the week.
According to Brown, "not only does the money go to Planned Parenthood and people of like mind, but it all goes with requirements from the federal government that 'a full range of reproductive services' be provided, which includes abortion referral. And that is why I don't think we should be describing Republicans as pro-life, because it's definitely not the case.
"The Congress rolled over and played dead when the Food and Drug Administration approved this killer pill, RU-486, and refuses to do anything about any chemical killer," she said.