23 Jan Abortion: The Mexico City Policy
The Mexico City Policy, also known as the Mexico City Gag Rule and the Global Gag Rule, is a United States government policy which requires all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services in other countries. The policy has become something of a political flashpoint in the abortion debate, with Republican administrations adopting it and Democratic administrations rescinding it.
President Barack Obama on Friday quietly ended the Bush administration‘s ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option. Liberal groups welcomed the decision, while abortion rights foes criticized the president.
Known as the “Mexico City policy,” the ban has been reinstated and then reversed by Republican and Democratic presidents since Ronald Reagan established it in 1984. Democrat Bill Clinton ended the ban in 1993, but Republican George W. Bush re-instituted it in 2001 as one of his first acts in office.
A White House spokesman, Bill Burton, said Obama signed an executive order on the ban, without coverage by the media, late Friday afternoon. That was in contrast to the midday signings with fanfare ofexecutive orders on other subjects earlier in the week.
The Bush policy had banned U.S. taxpayer money, usually in the form of Agency for International Development funds, from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion. The rule also had prohibited federal funding for groups that lobby to legalize abortion or promote it as a family planning method.
Both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will oversee foreign aid, had promised to do away with the rule during the presidential campaign. Clinton visited the U.S. Agency for International Development on Friday but made no mention of the step.
Gary Bauer added:
There are reports buzzing in Washington that President Obama will move today or very soon lift the ban on federal funding of abortion overseas, a pro-life policy instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 known as the Mexico City Policy. In a time of great economic anxiety and surging budget deficits, is forcing American taxpayers to subsidize abortion really such a high priority for the new administration or the best use of our resources? And I can’t help but be perplexed and disappointed by the irony of extending rights to terrorists while committing American tax dollars to the destruction of innocent life.