Trump executive memorandum reinstates 'Mexico City Policy' on abortion

IMAGE: CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters

By Mark Pattison

(CNS) — President Donald J. Trump issued an executive memorandum Jan. 23 reinstating
the “Mexico City Policy,” which bans all foreign nongovernmental organizations
receiving U.S. funds from performing or promoting abortion as a method of
family planning in other countries.

action was hailed by pro-life leaders.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York,
chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, applauded the
news in a Jan. 23 statement. “This is a welcome step toward restoring and
enforcing important federal policies that respect the most fundamental human
right — the right to life — as well as the long-standing, bipartisan
consensus against forcing Americans to participate in the violent act of
abortion,” he said.

Trump is continuing Ronald Reagan’s legacy by taking immediate action on day
one to stop the promotion of abortion through our tax dollars overseas.” said a
Jan. 23 statement from Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony

Trump’s immediate action to promote respect for all human life, including
vulnerable unborn children abroad, as well as conscience rights, sends a strong
signal about his administration’s pro-life priorities,” she said.

“By redirecting taxpayer dollars away from the
international abortion industry, President Trump has reinstituted
life-affirming protections for unborn children and their mothers,” said a Jan.
23 statement by Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, co-chair of the Congressional
Pro-Life Caucus. “There is political consensus that taxpayer dollars should not
fund abortion and the abortion industry.”

“Now we
see pro-life fruits of the election unfolding as President Trump has taken
immediate action to reinstitute President Reagan’s Mexico City Policy,” said Father
Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, in a Jan. 23 statement. “Poll after
poll shows that Americans do not want their tax money to pay for
abortions. Stopping funding to foreign
pro-abortion groups is a powerful first step toward doing the same

for the city that hosted the U.N. International Conference on
Population in 1984 — where Reagan, then in his first term as president,
unveiled it — the Mexico City Policy has been the textbook definition of a
political football. Adopted by a Republican president, it has been rescinded
when Democrats sat in the White House, only to be restored when Republicans
claimed the presidency.

1993, President Bill Clinton’s revocation of the policy was made so quickly
following his inauguration that some participants in the March for Life, conducted
two days after the inauguration, carried “Impeach Clinton” signs.

Just as
Clinton had rescinded the policy two days after taking office, so did President
George W. Bush reinstate it two days into his presidency, expanding it to
include all voluntary family planning activities. President Barack Obama
rescinded the policy Jan. 23, 2009.

challenges to the policy resulted in rulings in 1987 and 1988 that limited its
application to foreign NGOs.

executive memorandum “makes clear that Trump intends to carry out with his promised
pro-life agenda. Taxpayer funding for abortions, whether here or overseas, is
unpopular with voters and is plain wrong,” said a Jan. 23 statement by Ashley
McGuire, a senior fellow with the Catholic Association.

amounts to subsidizing the violent victimization of women and children, in
particular poor and minority women who feel they have no choice but to have an
abortion,” McGuire said. “Redirecting those funds to health centers that offer
women real choice and hope is the right policy moving forward.”

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