A cultural political football, the policy was first enacted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and was maintained by President George H.W. Bush until it was rescinded first by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993. Eight years later, President George W. Bush reinstated Mexico City and it was in effect until Barack Obama reversed it upon entering office in 2009.
The Mexico City Policy bans funding to organizations that perform abortions overseas or lobby for legalizing them in foreign nations.
Trump’s pro-life action comes a day after the 44th anniversary of the notorious Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, which along with the Court’s Doe v. Bolton decision, established abortion-on-demand as the law of the land.
At the first official White House press conference today, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said that reinstating the Mexico City Policy illustrates to the people of the United States "and to people of the world...what a value we place on life.” He said it is consistent with Trump, who campaigned as a "pro-life president."
Trump "wants to stand up for all Americans including the unborn,” and ensure taxpayer funding is ”reflecting American values,” including the respect for life, he added.
Expectations are high among pro-life activists that Trump's executive order will be the first of several pro-life actions taken by the White House in concert with Republicans who control Congress.
In 2009, when Obama rescinded the pro-life Mexico City policy, the National Right to Life Committee described it as follows: “Basically, the policy required grantees to refrain from performing abortions (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest), or lobbying to legalize abortion, or otherwise promoting abortion as a birth-control method. Critics disparaged the policy as a ‘global gag rule.'”
Trump signed the Mexico City Policy executive order along with two others, one pulling the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade convention and the other enforcing a hiring freeze on all federal agencies except the U.S. military.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, criticized Trump's order on Twitter.
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) January 23, 2017
— Charmaine (@CharmaineYoest) January 23, 2017
The student group tweeted,
— Students for Life (@Students4LifeHQ) January 23, 2017
“I thank President Trump for issuing an executive order in keeping with his campaign promise that he will protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions," he added.
Perkins noted that a post-election survey found that "nearly 60 percent of Trump voters were impacted by the Republican Party’s strong pro-life, pro-religious liberty platform." He said Trump's executive order aligns with GOP platform language stating that funding or participating in abortion violates the principle that there should be a "wall of separation" between taxpayer money and abortion.
Human Life International President Fr. Shenan Boquet also praised the decision. He called it a "common sense policy" supported by most that will help "restor[e] the credibility of the United States as having a foreign policy that respects innocent life."
“That being said, there is much more to do. The Mexico City Policy should be made permanent, and audits of grant recipients from USAID and other federal agencies should be performed to ensure that it is truly enforced," Fr. Boquet continued. "The Trump administration has kept one important promise to those who put them in office, we pray that these pro-life decisions continue and that all federal support of abortion is ended without delay, taking us closer to the time when all abortions will be ended, all innocent life welcomed, and all mothers supported in their decision to welcome life into the world.”
Peter LaBarbera wites for LifeSite News.
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