As expected, today U.S. President Barak Obama rescinded the Mexico City Policy which prohibited U.S. tax dollars from being used internationally to promote or perform abortions.
There had been a glimmer of hope that he would not overturn this policy since he did not rescind it yesterday, as expected, as part of the celebration of the 36th anniversary of the Roe V Wade decision that struck down all state laws prohibiting abortion and ruled that it was a constitutional right.
However, those hopes were dashed when Obama signed a new order allowing millions of U.S. tax dollars to be used to promote abortion.
Some speculate that Obama delayed this action for a day out of respect for pro-life marchers who yesterday assembled in Washington to mourn the deaths of the over 40 million children that have been aborted since the US Supreme Court struck down all state abortion laws with the Roe V Wade decision.
A statement on Obama’s action by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the foremost U.S. group fighting abortion, is particularly good. Douglas Johnson, their legislative director commented:
President Obama has made it clear that he will pursue a broad range of anti-life, anti-family policies. Unfortunately, this is merely the first of many. It should serve as a good wake up call for pro-family citizens to oppose these policies by every means available to us.
"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. 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.
"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."
Contrary to some misunderstandings, enforcement of the Mexico City Policy did not reduce the amount of money spent on the program, nor will Obama's order increase the amount (which is $461 million in the current fiscal year). Rather, the policy affects what type of groups qualify for grants under the program. "Obama's order will predictably result in a redirection of funds to groups such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which are ideologically committed to the doctrine that abortion on demand must be universally available as a birth control method," Johnson said.
Although Obama's order will result in major subsidies for organizations that promote abortion overseas, the direct use of the U.S. funds to perform abortion procedures will remain unlawful under the Helms Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act. "The Helms Amendment can be changed only by an act of Congress, but because the Obama Administration is joined at the hip with the abortion lobby, we will be watching carefully for any evidence that the Administration is failing to enforce the Helms Amendment," Johnson said.
The details of the Mexico City Policy are spelled out in an official handbook issued by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which is available on request from NRLC (in PDF format). 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 family-planning method. The policy explicitly allowed responding to questions about where abortions may be obtained, in countries in which abortions are legal.
News like this makes me sad. Please do not think that I believe abortion should be illegal. I just don't think it should be promoted and made more accessible. I believe it is already too accessible. It has proven to have so many detrimental mental, emotional, and physical effects on the woman (let alone death to the child), and so many people are not educated about the negative aspects. They view it as a cure-all, or something that has few side effects down the road. I wish we lived in a society where unborn babies were only conceived into loving families and were safe from dangers like abortion. Call me naive or ignorant, but that is what I wish.