As promised, President Joe Biden released a statement today announcing his administration is rescinding the Mexico City Policy. The policy was used in previous Republican presidential administrations to bar U.S. funding from supporting international non-profit organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals.
The Biden-Harris administration made the announcement a day before the National March for Life is scheduled to kick off. Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, called the move “disturbing” on Twitter:
Consistent polling shows that 77% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion overseas. The government should never force taxpayers to fund abortions, either here or abroad, but should work to protect the inherent dignity of all persons, born and unborn. 2/2
— Jeanne F. Mancini (@jeannemfl) January 28, 2021
Mancini referred to polling information released earlier this week that indicates the majority of Americans don’t support tax dollars funding abortions. The poll, funded by the Knights of Columbus and conducted by Marist, found the vast majority of respondents (77 percent) said they either “oppose” or “strongly oppose” using tax dollars to pay for abortion procedures around the world. Additionally, only 19 percent of respondents supported public funding of abortions overseas.
The Mexico City Policy, referred to as a “global gag order” by its critics, has been in place for the last four years under Biden’s predecessor, Donal Trump. The policy was initially enacted by Ronald Reagan and has been retained by the Republican presidents who held the office after him. Democratic presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and now Biden have rescinded the policy during their time in office.
In a memorandum released today, which also discussed the administration’s plans to strengthen Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, the administration says the decision to rescind the Mexico City Policy is about supporting women’s sexual and reproductive health in the U.S. and abroad:
Across the country and around the world, people — particularly women, Black, Indigenous and other people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and those with low incomes — have been denied access to reproductive health care. President Biden is also issuing a Presidential Memorandum to protect and expand access to comprehensive reproductive health care. The memorandum reflects the policy of the Biden-Harris Administration to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States, as well as globally. Like memoranda issued by President Clinton and President Obama before him, it immediately rescinds the global gag rule, also referred to as the Mexico City Policy, which bars international non-profits that provide abortion counseling or referrals from receiving U.S. funding. In recognition of the additional work necessary to protect access to reproductive health care, President Biden’s memorandum also directs the Department of Health and Human Services to take immediate action to consider whether to rescind regulations under its Title X family planning program.
Meanwhile, the March for Life is making its final preparations for their event starting tomorrow. Due to the pandemic and also the increased security restrictions in Washington D.C., march organizers decided to take a decentralized approach to the march this year. Instead of encouraging people to travel to Capitol Hill in Washington, march organizers are asking supporters to tune in virtually as “a small group of pro-life leaders” march. There are also a number of other virtual events planned that are listed on their website. This year’s speaker line up includes Benjamin Watson, Tim Tebow, J.D. Greear, and musician Matthew West.