Pro-Life Campaign Promotes Mexico City Policy on Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 29, 2011   |   12:01PM   |   Washington, DC

A pro-life organization that focuses on population issues is sponsoring a new petition to urge Congress to restore the Mexico City Policy on abortion that resident Barack Obama overturned during his first week in office.

When Congress returns from its August recess, members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives are considering an appropriations bill that would, in part, restore the Mexico City Policy preventing the funding of groups that promote or perform abortions overseas.

The policy has been a central tenant of pro-life foreign policy during Republican administrations, but pro-abortion presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both scrapped it during their first weeks in office. The policy, first named for a conference in Mexico City where pro-life President Ronald Reagan announced it, ensures taxpayer dollars don’t flow through international family planning programs to organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which claims to have done in hundreds of thousands of abortions worldwide.

Planned Parenthood and the British-based Marie Stopes International refused to stop doing abortions or trying to get nations to abandon their pro-life culture and heritage and refused to follow the pro-life rules so they could accept the family planning funds during the Bush administration.

To support the legislation, the Population Research Institute is promoting a petition to obtain signatures urging lawmakers to put the pro-life policy back in place.

“The Mexico City Policy, a global U.S. policy, was adopted to end U.S. funding for foreign abortions. This policy was first implemented by Ronald Reagan in 1984 at a United Nations Population Conference in Mexico City, hence the name,” PRI president Steven Mosher says. “When Obama rescinded this policy, $425 million of taxpayer dollars in 2009, and $765 million in 2010, went to support overseas abortion movements, even in countries which object to abortion.”

“Through this funding, we have all been forced to pay for abortions. Abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood and the UNFPA receive millions in tax dollars each year,” Mosher says. “New legislation could stop this abuse. Your signature will help make it happen.”

The petition people can sign reads: “I strongly support reinstatement of America’s Mexico City Policy, the pro-life policy that forbids U. S. funding of organizations that promote and fund abortion overseas. Bringing back the Mexico City Policy is crucial. As a voter in your district, I will closely follow your public comments and votes on this essential legislation!”

In July, during a committee hearing on the bill restoring the Mexico City Policy, Republicans turned back an effort from Democrats to strike the language on a 25-17 vote.

While abortion advocates will likely float amendments on the House floor to strike the pro-life language, Republicans have enough votes to defeat them and approve the bill. However, the bill’s fate in the Senate is much less certain and Democrats who control the Senate will not likely bring up the legislation — and Obama would likely threaten to veto the bill even if it had the votes.

Despite Obama and Senate Democrats holding up the pro-life policy, Republicans have made inroads into cutting the international pro-abortion agenda.

In April, pro-life Speaker John Boehner secured a budget agreement that, in part, cuts funding to the pro-abortion UNFPA (United Nations Family Planning Agency) that has worked hand-in-hand with Chinese population control officials who have enforced the one-child rule with forced abortions and other human rights abuses. Republicans trimmed funding for the agency from the $55 million President Barack Obama put in place to $40 million.

The bill also cut international population control and family planning funding to $575 million from the $648 million Congress authorized in 2010. That’s less money for the pro-abortion groups without the Mexico City Policy.

In July, the nation’s Catholic bishops called on Congress to restore the policy and make further cuts.

The letter from Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services, went to the top Republican and leading Democrat on the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. In the letter, USCCB and CRS affirm strong support for restoring the Mexico City Policy and they support denying funding to the U.N. Population Fund.

“The USCCB, CRS, and many others in the faith community … stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that … promotes human life and dignity,” Bishop Hubbard and Hackett say in the letter.

“As you consider appropriations language, we strongly support restoring the Mexico City Policy against funding groups that perform or promote abortion, and denying funding to the U.N. Population Fund which supports a program of coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization in China,” they add. “It is also important to preserve the Helms Amendment, prohibiting U.S. funding for abortion, and the Kemp-Kasten provision, prohibiting support of organizations involved in programs of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”

In September 2003, President George W. Bush expanded the Mexico City Policy and issued an executive memo making it clear that the pro-life policy applies to federal funding of all population programs funded by the State Department — even if they are not funded through USAID.

Another pro-life law, called Kemp-Kasten, prohibits the federal government from funding involuntary population programs.