Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
“Many people in Africa were led to expect that the Obama Administration would be sending good things to them. Many of them may be surprised to learn that the first thing he is sending to Africa is U.S.-funded surrogates who will promote the killing of their unborn children.”
That’s what Douglas Johnson, legislative director of National Right to Life Committee, said to the Daily Blog about President Barack Obama’s issuance today of an executive order overturning the pro-life Mexico City Policy.
The pro-life policy mandated that no U.S. taxpayer funding could be given to groups that promote abortion overseas.
In a National Right Life Committee statement, Johnson predicted that repeal of the Mexico City Policy will mark the start of Obama’s campaign to implement a comprehensive agenda of anti-life policies.
“This is the first in an anticipated series of attacks on longstanding pro-life policies, as the new administration pushes Obama’s sweeping abortion agenda,” Johnson said. “That agenda includes repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which would result in tax-funded abortion as a birth control method in the U.S., and imposition of sweeping pro-abortion mandates on private employers through health-care reform legislation.”
Said Johnson, “One effect of Obama’s order will be to divert many millions of dollars away from groups that do not promote abortion, and into the hands of those organizations that are the most aggressive in promoting abortion in developing countries. President Obama not long ago told the American people that he would support policies to reduce abortions, but today he is effectively guaranteeing more abortions by funding groups that promote abortion as a method of population control.”
Other pro-life leaders have joined Johnson in condemning Obama’s overturning of the Mexico City Policy.
“President Obama campaigned on finding ‘common ground’ on abortion policy, but his first presidential decision to roll back the commonsense Mexico City Policy signals to American taxpayers that the abortion bailout has begun,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in this statement.
“It’s unfortunate that President Obama has made subsidizing international abortion groups one of his first priorities, even as abortion numbers here at home are on the decline,” Dannenfelser said. “America should respond to women’s needs in developing countries with real assistance that also upholds their dignity, not by promoting or paying for abortions. I am disappointed by President Obama’s decision to bypass the will of American taxpayers and promote the radical agenda of Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby.”
The Mexico City Policy was fist instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. It was overturned pro-abortion Democratic President Bill Clinton immediately after he assumed office in 1993.
The pro-life policy was subsequently reinstated by pro-life Republican President George W. Bush immediately after he assumed office in 2001.
Even though the Mexico City Policy was instituted by pro-life presidents and overturned by pro-abortion presidents, and is endorsed by pro-life groups and hated by pro-abortion lobbyists who call it “The Global Gag Rule,” some pro-Obama Catholics are advancing the claim that Obama was supporting the pro-life cause by overturning the policy.
Here’s what National Right to Life’s Johnson had to say about that claim:
“Anyone who accepts the claim that giving big money to groups that lobby to legalize abortion, and that actively expand abortion-providing networks, is going to reduce abortions, will believe anything,” Johnson told the Daily Blog via e-mail. “The only groups that were ‘forced to’ forego funding under the Mexico City Policy were groups that wanted to promote abortion instead of non-abortive family planning.”
Added Johnson, “And the effect of today’s order will be to take money away from contraceptive programs, and put it back into the hands of groups that are ideologically committed to the doctrine that abortion is just another method of birth control — or, as the International Planned Parenthood Federation used to put it, that ‘reproductive rights are indivisible.’”
— Tom McFeely