House panel backs 'global gag rule' on abortion

A House committee voted Thursday to reinstate a ban on providing foreign aid to groups that perform abortions or provide advice about the procedure.

The so-called "global gag rule" is part of an authorization bill that passed the Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday. It prohibits entities that receive U.S. aid money from providing abortions or counseling women about the option.

“This policy would be patently unconstitutional if applied to U.S.-based groups. It is un-democratic and un-American for Congress to decide that foreign community and health groups are not worthy of the same free-speech rights as Americans,” the Center for Reproductive Rights said in a statement.

The Foreign Affairs Committee defeated an amendment, offered late Wednesday evening, to strip the language from the authorization bill.