Monday morning, President Trump signed an executive order blocking foreign aid or federal funding for international nongovernmental organizations that provide or “promote” abortions.
The order comes one day after the 44th anniversary of the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal, and days before the annual “March for Life” in Washington on Jan. 27.
The so-called Mexico City policy, established by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984, blocks federal funding for international family planning charities that provide abortions or “promote” the procedure by providing patients with information about it, including by offering referrals to abortion providers.
Referred to by critics as the “global gag rule”, the policy has been subjected to a game of political football over the years, with Democratic presidents rescinding the policy once in office and Republican presidents then reinstating it.
President Obama rescinded the policy when he took office in 2009.
Republicans quickly praised the order as an advancement of “pro-life” policies that protect taxpayer funds.
“Life is a precious and sacred gift, and we must do all we can to protect it,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), chairman of the House’s health subcommittee.
“I applaud President Trump for taking this important action and look forward to continuing to work together in advancing pro-life policies and protecting taxpayer dollars.”
Democrats denounced the order as reflecting a “dangerous obsession” with rolling back reproductive rights.
“President Trump’s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule ignores decades of research, instead favoring ideological politics over women and families,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
(D-N.H.) in a statement.
“I will continue to stand up to President Trump and Republican leadership in Congress who are intent on rolling back women’s access to reproductive healthcare, and will introduce bipartisan legislation to repeal the Global Gag Rule for good.”
The order may take on added significance this year given the cultural battles surrounding Trump, many of which are centered around women’s rights.
These women’s rights are also centered around one fundamental right — the right to life. Let’s see more leaders around the world begin to follow President Trump’s lead in preserving that fundamental right.