"Mexico City Policy" Expanded, Clarified
By Dave Andrusko
When President George W. Bush took office in 2001, the newly elected pro-life President restored an initiative begun by pro-life President Ronald Reagan in 1985 and negated by pro-abortion President Bill Clinton in 1993.
It is commonly known as the "Mexico City Policy" and requires all international organizations seeking U.S. funding for family planning to certify that they "neither perform nor actively promote" abortion as a method of family planning in other nations. The order meant that international organizations which supported abortion either by actually performing abortions, promoting abortion as a "family planning" option, or lobbying foreign governments to change their protective abortion laws would be barred from receiving federal family planning money. That prohibition applied whether the organizations used the U.S. money in these activities or their own.
The 2001 executive order was directed to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which at the time was a major conduit through which international family planning money was funneled. However, now much of the funding is administered directly by the State Department.
But as a result of a new executive order issued by President Bush on August 30, 2003, the Mexico City Policy now applies to all population programs funded by the State Department, not just those funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Bush wrote, "Because family planning grants are awarded by the Department of State outside of USAID as well as through USAID, you are hereby directed to extend the requirements of the March 28, 2001, memorandum to all assistance for voluntary population planning furnished to foreign nongovernmental organizations."
NRLC Associate Executive Director Darla St. Martin commended President Bush for his new initiative. "Without the Mexico City Policy, United States taxpayer dollars would be used to fund groups that work unceasingly to undercut protective abortion laws in the developing world," she said. "It is another illustration that President Bush is steadfast in his determination to promote a culture of life."
The directive was the second recent action taken by the Bush Administration to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion-related activities. Three days before, the State Department ended funding for an AIDS program for African and Asian refugees run by Marie Stopes International.
Marie Stopes works in China with the notorious U.N. Population Fund, which the Bush Administration charged last year with violating the Kemp-Kasten law. This 1985 law prohibits taxpayer funding of any "organization or program which, as determined by the President of the United States, supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization."