Doubling down on its identity as a pro-abortion nation, Sweden has vowed to counter the U.S. Mexico City policy by withholding funding from organizations that stop providing abortion services.
“This is about women’s own right to decide when, and if, they want to have children and how many children they want,” said Carin Jämtin, the director general of Sweden’s development aid agency, Sida.
Jämtin made it clear that Sweden’s policy is meant to directly counter America’s policy of not using taxpayer money to fund abortions as part of aid to NGOs.
We have to defend “the right to abortion for girls and women in poor countries and when the United States implements a policy that will hit the poorest countries and the most vulnerable groups – women and girls in need of care,” Jämtin said, “Sida has to make sure that Swedish aid continues to go to those activities we have agreed on.”
Not only will Sweden continue to provide funding for overseas abortions, it is now withholding aid from organizations that yield to the Mexico City policy and refuse to offer abortion services.
“Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are a prerequisite for being able to attend school and being active on the labour market,” Jämtin said.
Sweden’s birth rate of just 1.88 children per woman is well below replacement level of roughly 2.1 children per woman needed to sustain zero population growth.
The Mexico City Policy, which obliges non-government organizations to “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations” if they want to apply for U.S. government funds, was instituted in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan.
Since then, the policy has been periodically rescinded by pro-abortion Democrat administrations and then reinstated by pro-life Republican administrations, meaning that it has been in force during roughly 17 of the past 32 years. President Bill Clinton rescinded the policy in 1993, and President George W. Bush adopted it once again in 2001.
In 2009, President Barack Obama once again allowed U.S. funding of abortion-providing NGOs overseas and President Trump shut down such abortion funding shortly after taking office, on January 23, 2017.
When Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, Sweden was one of several countries crusading to block the U.S policy.
Sweden has made a point of bludgeoning religious believers into submission to its secular morality, refusing to grant exemptions for reasons of conscience or faith.
In June, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced that he intends to force all priests in the Swedish church to marry same-sex couples even if they adhere to a biblical morality that doesn’t recognize gay marriage.
The Prime Minister said that “no priest in the Swedish Church can refuse to marry same-sex couples,” arguing that a priest’s religious beliefs on the matter were irrelevant.
“If you work as a midwife you must be able to perform abortions, otherwise you have to do something else. It is the same for priests who do not want to perform same-sex marriages,” Lofven said.
Within the United States, abortion and abortion-funding has been a critical bone of contention between the two major parties and once again figured prominently in last November’s election.
In the lead-up to the elections, several Catholic bishops in the U.S. stressed the crucial importance of abortion as a preeminent social justice issue when believers are deciding for whom to cast their vote.
Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila told Catholics that life issues—and especially opposition to abortion—had to take absolute precedence in deciding whom to vote.
“Catholics in good conscience cannot support candidates who will advance abortion,” he wrote in the diocesan newspaper, The Denver Catholic.
Similarly, Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Long Island reminded Catholics of the gravity of abortion and its centrality in the elections.
“Support of abortion by a candidate for public office,” Murphy said, “is reason sufficient unto itself to disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote.”
In November, Catholics voted for Donald Trump by a greater margin than for any other Republican candidate in the five elections of the new millennium, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. While only 45 percent of Catholics cast their vote for Hillary Clinton, some 52 percent voted for Donald Trump, Pew found.
Among important demographic groups, Catholics—who are overwhelmingly pro-life—make up nearly 25 percent of U.S. voters and constitute a significant force in elections.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome