Washington D.C., Jan 28, 2021 / 11:15 am MT (CNA).- Catholic and pro-life leaders condemned the White House’s planned repeal of the Mexico City Policy on Thursday.
The policy prevents the use of tax dollars from going to foreign organizations that perform or promote abortions. The White House announced on Thursday morning that President Joe Biden would be repealing the policy later in the day, among his executive actions on health care.
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, called the announcement “a deeply disturbing move” as it took place “on the eve of the March for Life.” The all-virtual March for Life will be held on Jan. 29.
The repeal “goes against the wishes of an overwhelming majority of Americans – in fact consistent polling shows that 77% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion overseas,” she said, citing a Marist poll released on Wednesday.
Since the Mexico City Policy—known also as the “Global Gag Rule” by abortion proponents—went into effect in 1984, incoming presidents have either repealed or reinstated the policy among their first acts in office. Republican presidents have all reinstated the policy; Democrats have repealed it.
Former president Donald Trump expanded the Mexico City Policy in 2017. Under his administration’s “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” plan, the ban on taxpayer funding of pro-abortion groups extended to billions of dollars of global health assistance. Previously, the Mexico City Policy had only applied to family planning assistance.
Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR, president of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, said on Thursday that Biden’s policies have “promoted and facilitated the harmful practice of abortion.”
“I pray that all Americans can come together to create a culture where these innocent human beings are treated with dignity and respect and their most basic human rights are protected,” he stated.
Other pro-life groups condemned the repeal of the policy. Brian Burch, the president of CatholicVote, called the announcement “deeply troubling” and said that it “will directly lead to an increase in abortions worldwide and will directly implicate conscientious Americans who oppose the practice.”
“The decision is especially shameful given the repeated insistence that Joe Biden is a ‘devout’ Catholic, even by his own press secretary as recently as last week when asked about this policy,” he said.
When asked by EWTN News last Wednesday what the administration’s plans were regarding the Mexico City Policy, White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not give details but said that Biden is a “devout Catholic.”
Burch said that the president’s use of his Catholic faith “to whitewash policies aimed at destroying innocent life is both insulting and diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church itself.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, called the repeal of the policy “abhorrent” and said that it was a move which “flies in the face of the ‘unity’ Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promised to inspire.”
“Rather than rally the nation around common ground policies to affirm and promote life, today they force taxpayers to bankroll abortion businesses overseas, opening up a slush fund for groups like Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation,” said Dannenfelser.
“These abortion industry giants shamefully push their agenda on deeply pro-life nations and cultures. Americans across the political spectrum oppose the use of taxpayer funding to promote abortion and abortion businesses.”