President Donald J. Trump issued an executive memorandum January 23 reinstating the ‘Mexico City Policy’, which bans all foreign non-governmental organisations receiving US funds from performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. The action was hailed by pro-life leaders.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, applauded the news in a January 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.
“President 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 January 23 statement from Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan Anthony List.
“President 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 January 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 January 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 domestically.”
Named for the city that hosted the UN 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 Adopted by a Republican president, it has been rescinded when Democrats sat in the White House, only to be restored when Republicans claimed the presidency.
In 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 on January 23, 2009.
Court challenges to the policy resulted in rulings in 1987 and 1988 that limited its application to foreign NGOs.
The 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 January 23 statement by Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with the Catholic Association.
“It amounts to subsidising 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 centres that offer women real choice and hope is the right policy moving forward.”
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund