Five Facts About Trump’s Reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy on Abortion


President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday that reinstated what is known as the “Mexico City Policy” regarding U.S. aid for abortions overseas.

Here’s five facts about the policy, the text of which can be found here:

  1. The “Mexico City Policy” prohibits non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. funds – including International Planned Parenthood – from providing or promoting abortions, as a method of family planning, overseas. The policy also bans these organizations from advocating for the passage of pro-abortion laws in other countries.
  1. President Trump has updated the policy by directing the Secretary of State to implement a plan that expands the policy across all global health assistance funding. This means that U.S. taxpayer dollars will not be supporting organizations that promote or participate in the management of a coercive abortion program. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), for example, is one such organization, with its long history of supporting China’s one-child population control program, an agenda that has included forced abortions.
  1. The Mexico City Policy does not reduce U.S. foreign assistance; however, it does ensure that those who partner with the United States in providing international aid act to safeguard that abortion is not performed or promoted.
  1. The policy does not prevent U.S. aid from being used for birth control and family planning services overseas – only abortion and its promotion are not subsidized.
  1. The Mexico City Policy is a memorandum that was first issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 at the United Nations population conference, held in Mexico City. It has been reinstituted by every Republican president via executive order since Ronald Reagan, but rescinded by Democrat presidents.

Family Research Council (FRC) provides further details about the history of the Mexico City Policy:

Prior to President Reagan’s actions, American policy on paper was to never promote abortion overseas, however in practice U.S. tax dollars directly supported organizations which advocated and performed abortion. It remained in effect until 1993 when President Clinton rescinded the Mexico City policy on January 22, 1993 for the entirety of his tenure in office. On January 22, 2001, President Bush issued an executive order restoring the Mexico City policy. President Bush had also determined UNFPA was complicit in China’s forced abortion and sterilization program, and withdrew its U.S. funding. President Obama ignored such facts and rescinded the policies.

FRC president Tony Perkins praised Trump for acting swiftly to reinstate the Mexico City Policy.

“This is a vital step in the journey to make America great again, recognizing and affirming the universal ideal that all human beings have inherent worth and dignity, regardless of their age or nationality,” he said. “I thank President Trump for issuing an executive order in keeping with his campaign promise that he will protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions.”

“This executive order aligns with the GOP platform which states that the Mexico City Policy should be restored,” Perkins added.  “Funding foreign groups that promote or participate in abortion violates the principle that there should be a ‘wall of separation’ between taxpayer money and abortion.”

Pro-abortion groups refer to the Mexico City Policy as the “global gag rule.” Abortion rights advocacy group NARAL tweeted its condemnation of Trump’s move on the Mexico City Policy:

NARAL also said in a statement:

It’s telling that one of Trump’s first executive actions combines two of his favorite things: silencing anyone who disagrees with him and repressing women. With this action, Donald Trump has turned his anti-women rhetoric into policy, and made it more difficult for women and families all over the world to access vital reproductive care. He really is living up to the lowest of expectations.

Similarly, Planned Parenthood denounced Trump’s reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy on Twitter:

National pro-life leaders, however, are applauding Trump’s move.

“Not only has President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, he’s modernized it by applying it to all foreign health assistance programs,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser. “For nearly a decade under President Obama, Americans have funded UNFPA, which has a long history of involvement in China’s brutal birth limitation policy – enforcement of which routinely includes the atrocity of forced abortions.

“Thanks to President Trump, the Secretary of State is directed to ensure Americans are no longer complicit in violating the dignity of women and children overseas. No longer will abortion be a top U.S. export,” Dannenfelser added.

“This is a great start to the Trump presidency and we hope this is only the beginning of defunding Planned Parenthood and the end of forcing American taxpayers to fund an industry that ends hundreds of thousands of innocent lives a year and irreparably harms women,” said president of Students for Life of America Kristan Hawkins. “This is a new day for all Americans, and we are excited about reversing Planned Parenthood’s hold on Washington.”

“Three days after President Obama took office he rescinded the Mexico City Policy, thereby allowing foreign non-governmental organizations to use American tax-payers’ money to perform abortions overseas,” observed  Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, policy advisor with The Catholic Association. “Today, three days into his own term, Mr. Trump returns the favor and reinstates the policy.”

Pozo Christie notes that Trump was “not cowed by the often-vulgar and stridently pro-abortion demonstrations that took place across the United States over the weekend.”

“The president instead is allying himself with majority American opinion,” she continues. “A recent Marist poll shows that 83% of Americans oppose using our tax dollars to fund abortions in other countries. Vulnerable women in developing countries will once again be protected from companies like the International Planned Parenthood Federation who have been using our tax dollars to “help” them by eliminating their children.”

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), a registered nurse and member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said, “With this compassionate executive order, President Trump has turned the page from a sad chapter in his predecessor’s legacy and has already started to make good on his promises to the millions of pro-life Americans that helped him ascend to this office.”

“On the heels of the 44th anniversary of the heartbreaking Roe vs. Wade decision, this order gives us renewed hope of things to come,” Black added. “I applaud President Trump for protecting the conscience rights of American taxpayers and prioritizing federal funding for organizations that protect life over those that take it away.”


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