Should Biden revoke anti-abortion Mexico City Policy?
- Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was inaugurated as the 46th president on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.
- On Biden’s first day in office, he rejoined the Paris Accords as well as the WHO, ordered a federal mask mandate, ended the Trump-era travel ban, as well as 13 other orders.
- January 28, Biden signed an order to reverse the “Mexico City Policy” on abortion, thus approving the US funding of abortions worldwide.
- The policy made its first appearance during Ronald Reagan’s presidency to make sure taxpayers were “not required to indirectly fund abortion procedures performed in other countries.” Every Democratic president has reversed this policy and it has been reinstated by every Republican president.'
- According the World Health Organization, between 2015 and 2019, about 73.3 million induced (safe and unsafe) abortions ocurred worldwide each year. Around 7 million women are admitted to hospitals every year in developing countries in relation to an unsafe abortion.
- Research from the Guttmacher Institute states that “unintended pregnacy rates are highest in countries that restrict abortion access and lowest in countries where abortion is broadly legal.”
Unsafe abortions are one of the leading causes of maternal death worldwide, according to the WHO. The Mexico City Policy has long denied women access to counseling for safe abortions. When women have nowhere to turn in the legitimate medical system, they are all too often faced with the unthinkable decision of whether to take matters into their own hands, often utilizing crude and dangerous methods. Prior to the reinstatement of the policy, the Marie Stopes international Association estimated the policy would cause 2.1 million unsafe abortions and nearly twenty-two thousand maternal deaths worldwide. Access to abortion services means fewer women dying or becoming seriously injured, and President Biden is right to take action.
Though the decoupling of aid funds with abortion services has been overturned or reinstated some thirty-two times during the past three decades, the latest incarnation has a novel and dangerous provision; it makes compliance mandatory for non-government organizations (NGOs) to receive any global health assistance. This means that vital programs such as HIV harm reduction and child nutrition programs are used as political leverage by the anti-abortion crowd. It is simply immoral to put peoples’ lives in danger to achieve a political policy win. Further, the latest version of this law extends coverage to include all agencies such as the departments of Defense and State and the Peace Corps. The Government Accountability Office found that in 2017 alone, there were fifty-four instances of NGO’s refusing aid money, totaling one hundred and fifty-three million dollars. This means less help for the developing world and less influence for the United States in shaping it.
Following Roe v. Wade, politicians determined it necessary to implement the Helms Amendment and Hyde Amendment to prevent federal funding from being used for abortion services in other nations and within the United States, respectively. The Regan-era Mexico City Policy takes this goal further by “prohibit[ing] US funding to foreign nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals.” The Mexico City Policy essentially takes the Helms Amendment a step further by denying US healthcare funding to nations that promote abortion “as a method of family planning,” hence being nicknamed the ‘Global Gag Rule.’
While it is necessary in some cases to financially assist other countries, there is an ethical limit to this, such as supporting the controversial and intentional slaughter of unborn lives. If other nations’ economies wish to fund the barbaric procedure, that is up to them. But if countries want our foreign aid, then they are to accept the terms of the agreement.
The Mexico City Policy has been repealed and reinstated by every president since its initial implementation by President Reagan. However, President Trump’s version was arguably more restrictive in that it prevents funding from being given to organizations that could, in turn, donate such to other pro-abortion groups, a loophole known as “backdoor funding schemes.”
While some claim that the Mexico City Policy is harmful in that it prevents funding from being provided for non-abortion related care, the obvious goal is to limit abortions, which saves lives. By President Biden repealing the Mexico City Policy, he allows the practice, which literally puts the worldwide blood of the unborn on his hands.