The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee approved a four-year extension of the family-planning program yesterday without including any new restrictions on abortion counseling or referrals.
Under a compromise worked out by Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. (R-Conn.), Hatch refrained from offering his proposal to bar from the program any organization that tells pregnant women abortion is an option or that refers them to an abortion clinic on request.
Existing program guidelines forbid use of program funds to perform abortions but require federally funded clinics to advise pregnant women that termination is an option and to refer them to an abortion clinic if they wish it.
Weicker, for his part, agreed to an amendment that, dressed up as a one-state research project, would, in effect, allow Utah to get $600,000 a year in family planning grants despite the fact that it has a parental notification requirement in its family planning program rules.
The courts have ruled that parental notification requirements applying to federally funded family planning clinics are not authorized by the basic program law. As a result, Utah, unwilling to rescind its notification rule, has been unable to get federal family planning funds for the past two years.
Under the compromise, Utah is the only state that would be allowed to require parental notification when girls receive services funded by the program.
The Senate committee acted by voice vote.
An amendment by Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) would authorize federally funded family planning clinics to offer adoption services, presumably as an alternative to abortion for pregnant women. Another amendment, by Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), would prohibit any discrimination in adoption practices.
The family planning program is now being funded at $142.5 million a year under an emergency money resolution.
The bill authorizes $143.1 million for fiscal 1986, $150.2 million for 1987, $157.8 million for 1988 and $165.6 million for 1989.
The House Commerce Committee also has approved a reauthorization. Final action on the legislation is not expected until next year.