On his third day in office, U.S. president Barack Obama fulfilled his promise to abortion rights groups by issuing an executive rescinding the Mexico City Policy that protected American taxpayers from funding abortion overseas. Obama’s executive order makes international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promote and perform abortions in developing countries eligible for public funds.
Considered by many to be one of the most effective pro-life policies of the Reagan and Bush administrations, the Mexico City policy required that NGOs pledge they would not “perform or promote abortion” in order to qualify for family planning funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the largest abortion provider in the world, estimates that it has lost more than $100 million in funding because of the policy.
Abortion rights groups targeted the Mexico City Policy, which they disparagingly call the “global gag rule,” even before President Obama officially took office. Just after the November election, a coalition of abortion advocacy groups submitted a secret 55-page memo to the President-elect outlining policy recommendations to advance “reproductive rights” in the first 100 days of his new administration. Striking down the Mexico City Policy was at the top of their wish list.
Twenty two pro-life organizations issued a press release condemning Obama’s executive order as “nothing less than a bailout of the abortion industry, taking money away from grassroots organizations that truly help women and children in order to fund two radical abortion lobbyists in particular — International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International.”
Pro-life leaders in the developing world also criticized the executive order. Dr. Doreen Brady-West, an obstetrician gynecologist and chairwoman of Jamaica’s Coalition for the Defense of Life, told the Friday Fax that by choosing Obama, Americans have also “chosen a social policy that will take their nation toward the establishment of the post-modern (and anti-Christian) worldview as a cultural norm.” Dr. West concluded that President Obama’s policies would “also strengthen the hands of those agencies that intend to export and enforce a culture of secular humanism in unwilling developing countries, with all the attendant implications for the family and for the most vulnerable human beings at the extremes of their natural life.”
The abortion coalition is likely to see another item ticked off their wish list in the coming months. In a statement that accompanied the executive order to rescind the Mexico City Policy, President Obama stated that he will be “working with Congress to restore US financial support of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).” Since 2002, the US has withheld $244 million from UNFPA because of evidence that the organization is involved in and supportive of China’s draconian one-child policy that includes forced abortions and sterilizations.
UNFPA executive director Thoraya Obaid boasted this week that the organization is “confident that under the new President’s direction, the U.S. will resume its leadership in promoting and protecting women’s reproductive health and rights worldwide.”