'Tea party's' Dick Armey: A GOP majority would take up abortion fight

Tea party advocate Dick Armey, chairman of Freedom Works, rejects the notion of a truce on social issues like abortion if Republicans take control of Congress. The former House majority leader says 'issues of the heart' will be on the GOP agenda.

By , staff writer

"Tea party" advocate Dick Armey, chairman of Freedom Works, says that if Republicans take control of Congress in November’s elections, changing policies on social issues like abortion will be on their agenda.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012, said in June that the next president “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues” so that the nation’s debt and deficit problems could be solved.

When asked Monday at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters about the possibility of a truce on social issues going into the presidential campaign, Mr. Armey said, “A truce? No. These are issues of the heart. People are not going to turn their hearts and minds away from things that they have so heartfelt.”

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Armey, who served as House majority leader, added, “the fact of the matter is there is sort of a question of first things first priorities. If we lose this nation, if it falls into insolvency, then all of these issues pretty well fall by the wayside too, don’t they. So i think there is a setting of priorities.”

He specifically referred to the abortion issue. “Since President Obama has been elected, there has been extraordinarily high levels of funding for international abortions through what is called the Mexico City language. That fight hasn’t been had for a few years. Now that fight will be had with this majority," he said, referring to his stated expectation that Republicans will win control of the House, and perhaps the Senate. He added, “these issues are too important to be left behind and they won’t be left behind.”

The Mexico City policy is named for the place where it was first announced by the Reagan administration. It provides that organizations that seek family planning funds from the US Agency on International Development (USAID) have to refrain from using any of their own funds to provide abortions, except in the case of rape or incest or to protect the life of the mother. Furthermore, organizations could not get US government funding if they lobbied to make or keep abortions legal in their country or provided abortion referrals. During the Bush administration the policy was in force. It was repealed early in President Obama’s term.

Freedom Works CEO Matt Kibbe said there was no official tea party position on social issues. “I don’t think there is. This is why we call this movement beautiful chaos. And there is a lot of diversity of opinion on a lot of these other issues. But again the issues that we all agree on are the issues that matter most to the nation today. And it is getting our government under control, it is getting our budget balanced, it is getting the economy going.”

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