Pres. Donald Trump signed the executive order reinstating a policy that bans federal funds for international organizations that offer or promote abortion, angering various groups from the pro-choice camp.
A day after the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the newly minted U.S. president officially reinstated the Mexico City Policy, also known as the "global gag rule," which requires international nongovernment organizations that receive federal funds to stop offering or counseling women to have abortion as a method of family planning.
In a nutshell, the Mexico City Policy means organizations offering health services funded in part by taxpayer funds from the U.S. must agree to stop their abortion activities-even if these are funded by other sources-or they will stop receiving federal funds for their other services.
The Policy was passed under Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1984 and was in effect until the time of Pres. George H.W. Bush. It was rescinded by Pres. Bill Clinton in 1993 but was reinstated under Pres. George W. Bush in 2001, only to be rescinded again by Pres. Barack Obama in 2009.
Trump's move angered pro-choice supporters. In defiance to the "global gag rule," the International Planned Parenthood Federation said it will not sign "a policy that denies human rights and puts the lives of women at risk."
"We cannot-and will not-deny life-saving services to the world's poorest women. We will work with governments and donors to bridge the funding and service gaps the Global Gag Rule creates," IPPF said in a statement. "We will ensure that women can exercise their rights and access safe abortion and family planning."
In a tweet, the pro-abortion group NARAL criticized a photo of the president signing the executive order surrounded by "white men," playing on the idea of a "pro-life patriarchy" with a hint of racism.
— NARAL (@NARAL) January 23, 2017
Marie Stopes International vice president Marjorie Newman-Williams said the Policy would force them to refuse services to "the very women who need us most."
"All the medical evidence, as well as everything we know from our daily interactions with women, is unequivocal: if you take safe abortion services out of the reproductive healthcare package, it exposes women to risk," she said in a statement.
On the other hand, presidential spokesman Sean Spicer said the Policy demonstrates the government's commitment to place value on life. Spicer emphasized the move was consistent with Trump's campaign promise to support pro-life policies and showed the president's desire to "to stand up for all Americans including the unborn."
Alliance Defending Freedom president Steven H. Aden lauded the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy.
"American taxpayer dollars have many good uses, but paying for elective abortions overseas is not and never has been one of them," Alden said. "The president has done the right and logical thing in reinstating a policy that never should have been rescinded."