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President Biden signed an executive order Thursday afternoon reversing the Mexico City policy, permitting U.S. aid money once again to fund groups that provide or promote abortion around the globe.
The policy was first put in place by President Ronald Reagan in an effort to ensure that taxpayers were not required to indirectly fund abortion procedures performed in other countries. The policy has been undone via executive order by every subsequent Democratic administration and reinstated by each Republican one.
The Trump administration expanded the policy to include not only family planning funds distributed by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development but also all foreign-health assistance provided by government agencies, including the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and the Defense Department. That expanded policy, “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” increased the amount of U.S. funding covered by the abortion prohibition from about $600 million to nearly $9 billion.
Abortion advocates and interest groups in the U.S. oppose the Mexico City policy; Planned Parenthood, for instance, has labeled it a “global gag rule.” During the presidential primary, the Biden campaign promised that his administration would undo the policy and permit U.S. aid money to fund abortions.
But according to public-opinion polls, most Americans don’t want the U.S. to fund abortions in other countries. A new poll out yesterday from Marist and the Knights of Columbus found that more than three-quarters of Americans oppose using U.S. aid money to fund abortions overseas. The same survey shows that voters in Biden’s own party disagree with him on this issue: A slight majority of Democrats said they do not want the U.S. funding global abortions, and nearly two-thirds of self-described pro-choice Americans agreed. Eighty-five percent of independent voters, meanwhile, said they oppose U.S. funding of overseas abortions.
“These pro-abortion executive orders from President Biden shock the conscience,” Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) said in a statement shortly after Biden signed today’s executive orders. “Our government shouldn’t be funding abortions at home, let alone overseas. Unity is important at times like these, but waging a culture war is only going to deepen divides and hurt innocent victims. Human dignity matters — President Biden should rethink this move.”
Senator Steve Daines (R., Mont.), who founded and chairs the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, said in a statement that Biden’s pro-abortion orders show “a complete lack of respect for the sanctity of human life.”
“These actions will enrich Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry at the taxpayers’ expense, while endangering the most vulnerable,” Daines added. “The United States should not be promoting a radical abortion agenda throughout the world, we should be leading the fight to protect the unborn and all life.”
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) also criticized Biden’s move. “Killing unborn children isn’t health care, and violating the rights of conscience of millions of Americans by using taxpayer money to help promote abortions isn’t freedom of choice,” McCarthy said in part of his statement. “The Biden Administration’s so-called ‘unity’ agenda continues to fail the American people. These one-sided orders are another move by the current administration to appease the liberal activists and neglect the most basic moral and fundamental principles of our nation’s founding.”