Digital News Report- President Obama overturned the Mexico City Policy, which bans all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive federal funding from performing or promoting abortion services in other countries. The policy was first put in place by President Reagan in 1984, but rescinded by President Clinton in 1993. President Bush reinstated the policy in 2001. Abortion rights groups have also called the policy the “Global Gag Rule”.
Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities called the decision “very disappointing.” He also said, “an Administration that wants to reduce abortions should not divert U.S. funds to groups that promote abortions.”
Carlos Polo, a Peruvian who is Director for Latin America of the Population Research Council, said “the money that USAID has been distributing to fight poverty, relief hunger and droughts, will end up in the pockets of feminist and pro-abortion organizations to push the legalization of abortion in our countries.”
However, Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, also issued a statement today, saying that the decision was “tremendously encouraging.” He went on to say, “It marks the first step on President Obama’s journey towards restoring confidence in America and America’s foreign policy.”
Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also supported Obama’s actions and said that his, “action rights a wrong-headed policy that for eight years has hindered people in developing countries from having access to the contraceptives necessary to prevent unintended pregnancies, abortions, and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.”
O’Brien called the timing of the Mexico City Policy “especially fitting.” Thursday marked the 36th anniversary of Roe v Wade, which was a landmark Supreme Court decision that declared most laws against abortion in the United States violated a constitutional right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
President Obama released a statement on the anniversary saying, “we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.”