In addition, it would be subject to the Kemp-Kasten amendment prohibiting funding of organizations that perform or participate in forced abortions and sterilizations; the administration has invoked this amendment as an authority when announcing that UNFPA funding is being redirected.
Nevertheless, the reinstatement of UNFPA funding would seek to undercut the administration's policy and could at least be a statement of support for the organization despite its partnership with the Chinese government on family planning.
Shaheen's amendment comes after several attempts in the Senate to insert "poison pill" amendments into appropriations bills to undo pro-life policies, despite an early bi-partisan agreement not to do so during the appropriations process.
The chamber had to pass a dozen appropriations bills by Sept. 30 to fund various government agencies for the 2020 fiscal year, but disagreements on border wall funding and pro-abortion amendments derailed the process.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) tried to repeal the Title X Protect Life Rule in a proposed amendment for a bill funding the Departments of Labor, HHS, Education, and related agencies. The Protect Life Rule forbade Title X family planning grants from going to entities that were co-located with abortion clinics, or that referred for abortions.
Instead of passing the appropriations bills, Congress instead passed a continuing resolution that would temporarily fund the government through November 21, setting up the new deadline for perhaps another showdown over abortion funding.
Also included in Shaheen's amendment was a mechanism to enforce an Obama-era nondiscrimination rule, that USAID contractors cannot discriminate against beneficiaries on the basis of "gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy."
The 2016 USAID rule was interpreted as a prohibition on discrimination against individuals identifying as LGBTI, but the inclusion of "pregnancy" has led some pro-lifers to believe it could also be interpreted to prohibit "discrimination" against women seeking abortions.
For instance, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibited discrimination on basis of sex, which HHS interpreted to include discrimination by health care providers against the "termination of pregnancy."
Shaheen's amendment would also mean that USAID has to create a mechanism to investigate claims of discrimination. As a press release by Shaheen's office explained, "The investigation would ensure biases by the administration regarding reproductive health do not interfere or alter the delivery of services on the ground."
Republicans in the committee inserted a mandate that such investigations be conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and not from within the State Department.
(Story continues below)
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