One of President Donald Trump’s first actions was to issue a memorandum reinstating what is known as the Mexico City Policy –- a directive meant to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund international organizations or programs that support abortion.
The Mexico City Policy was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 during a UN population conference held in Mexico City. To receive U.S. family planning support, the policy requires foreign non-governmental organizations to certify that they will not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.
The memorandum directs “the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by law, to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the policy to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.”
It also directs the Secretary of State to “to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”
Since it was first announced thirty-two years ago, the Mexico City Policy has been reinstated or rescinded by presidential administrations depending on which political party has been in power.
President Trump issued the memorandum reinstating the Mexico City policy one day after the January 22 anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe vs Wade decision legalizing abortion in the country. It was published just days after hundreds of thousands of people travelled to Washington to participate in the Women’s March, whose platform favored abortion rights; and days before tens of thousands came to Washington to attend the annual pro-life march protesting the legalization of abortion.
At a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters President Trump has “made it very clear that he is a pro-life president. He wants to stand up for all Americans, including the unborn …The reinstatement of this [Mexico City] policy is not just something that echoes that value, but respects taxpayer funding as well.”
Mr. Spicer said spending tax payer funds overseas for the purpose of abortion “is contrary to the values of this president; and I think continue[s] to further illustrate, not just to the folks here in this country, but around the world, what a value we place on life.”