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Bishops, pro-life leaders decry Biden decision to rescind 'Mexico City policy'

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden's memo rescinding the so-called "Mexico City policy" Jan. 28, the eve of this year's March for Life, "is a deeply disturbing move, especially when the president says he wants national unity," tweeted Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Defense and Education Fund.

 Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Rockford Bishop David J. Malloy, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, also released a statement criticizing the decision, saying, “It is grievous that one of President Biden’s first official acts actively promotes the destruction of human lives in developing nations.

 “This executive order is antithetical to reason, violates human dignity, and is incompatible with Catholic teaching. As the largest non-government health care provider in the world, the Catholic Church stands ready to work with him and his administration to promote global women’s health in a manner that furthers integral human development, safeguarding innate human rights and the dignity of every human life, beginning in the womb.”

 A number of other national pro-life leaders also criticized Biden for his decision, which was included in a "Presidential Memorandum to Protect and Expand Access to Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care."

 The policy, first announced by President Ronald Reagan during an international conference on population in Mexico City in 1984, blocked U.S. funding for nongovernmental organizations that perform or actively promote abortion as a form of family planning in other nations.

 Republican presidents since then have upheld the policy and Democratic presidents have overturned it. Opponents of the policy call it a "gag order."

 Biden's action "goes against the wishes of an overwhelming majority of Americans — in fact, consistent polling shows that 77 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion overseas," said Mancini in her tweet. "The government should never force taxpayers to fund abortions, either here or abroad, but should work to protect the inherent dignity of all persons, born and unborn."

 Biden's decision to rescind the policy that began with Reagan was expected once he was inaugurated as the nation's 46th president.

 A Catholic, Biden also has said he wants to see an end to the long-standing Hyde Amendment, which outlaws federal tax dollars from directly funding abortion except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the woman would be endangered.

 A week earlier, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and now Biden's chief medical adviser, said the president would take action on the policy "in the coming days."

It is part of the new president's "broader commitment to protect women's health and advance gender equality at home and around the world," Fauci told the World Health Organization's executive board Jan. 21. He made the comments after Biden chose him to head the U.S. delegation to WHO.

"Funneling U.S. tax dollars to abortion groups overseas is an abhorrent practice that flies in the face of the 'unity' Joe Biden and (Vice President) Kamala Harris promised to inspire," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, echoing Mancini's remarks.

"Rather than rally the nation around common ground policies to affirm and promote life," she said, "today they force taxpayers to bankroll abortion businesses overseas, opening up a slush fund for groups like Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation."

"These abortion industry giants shamefully push their agenda on deeply pro-life nations and cultures," she added. "Americans across the political spectrum oppose the use of taxpayer funding to promote abortion and abortion businesses. Despite this, the new administration is moving forward with a payout to the abortion industry that backed their political campaign."

Released Jan. 27, results of the annual Knights of Columbus-sponsored Marist poll on Americans' opinions on abortion continue to show that "a majority of Americans do not support the sweeping pro-abortion changes to law that are sought by President Biden and the Democrat Congress," noted Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

"Pursuit of this radical pro-abortion agenda shows just how out of touch they are with their constituents," she said.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021