What’s next for the pro-life Mexico City policy?
Lawmakers push to cement the future of foreign aid for abortion organizations
On his eighth full day in office, President Joe Biden revoked the pro-life Mexico City policy, restoring the United States’ funding to international organizations that provide abortions. Since the Reagan administration introduced the rule at a United Nations conference in Mexico City in 1984, its status has always depended on which party holds the White House. Now, both sides are pushing to end that back-and-forth for good. With a new majority in the Senate, Democrats have greater hopes of scrapping the rule.
In January, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, reintroduced a bill Republicans have tried to pass several times to codify the Mexico City policy in law, which would make it harder to overturn than an executive order. In a speech on Feb. 3, Lee called funding international abortion organizations “cultural imperialism,” pointing out that the money goes toward sex-selective abortions, often of baby girls, in other countries.
“In some of these countries, abortion is forced on women who don’t even want the abortions,” he said. “Women in countries like Vietnam and Peru, for instance, who were forced to endure the coercive abortion and sterilization campaigns of the 1990s, to name just a few examples. … What kind of ‘aid’ does violence to women and girls?”
Democrats also want to end the fluctuations in funding. The day after Biden revoked the Mexico City policy, his party reintroduced the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights Act in the House and Senate. The legislation would open a steady stream of funding for pro-abortion organizations globally, regardless of which party is in office. The Helms Amendment, enacted in 1973, would still prohibit direct funding of abortion with foreign aid. But U.S. money could cover other costs for organizations such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, freeing up funds for more abortions.
“A permanent repeal is needed now more than ever,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said.
Vocally pro-abortion Vice President Kamala Harris gets the tie-breaking vote in the evenly split Senate. On top of that, this particular act has support from some Republicans, increasing its chance of passing this time around. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, both back the bill.
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