Lets not abort the peace process

It's odd to think that the domestic fight over abortion could affect Middle East peace but that just may happen.

That's because a campaign by pro-life lawmakers to ban U.S. funds to international family planning programs that include abortions put the $12.1 billion bill in a state of legislative flux this week.

The dispute over that bill, which includes $3 billion to Israel, contributed to the lapse of the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act, which enabled U.S. assistance to the Palestine Liberation Organization and permitted the PLO to maintain its Washington, D.C., office.

Without that legislation, the State Department had to close the PLO office and halt funding to the Palestinian Authority. Obviously, such actions had a dramatic effect on the development of the authority, which has been so critical to the peace process.

Tuesday, the House of Representatives approved the amendment to the foreign aid bill that was at the center of the debate.

That amendment prohibits the United States from spending any money on organizations that financially support overseas abortions, banning funds to the United Nations Population Fund until it withdraws its family planning organization from China.

President Clinton, rightfully, threatened to veto the bill if it included the abortion language. That language threatens to hold pro-lifers' opposition to abortion not only over the heads of American women but over those of women around the world.

Some of those women are poor and hungry. Neither they nor the countries in which they live have the proper resources to care for unwanted children.

That a group of U.S. lawmakers has been trying to impose their morals on women in far corners of the world is shortsighted and condescending, to say the least.

That such a stance could sabotage Middle East peace is utterly absurd.