The Brody File has learned that President Obama WILL NOT issue an executive order today that would have reversed a Bush administration policy which bans federal money by non-governmental agencies that provide abortions overseas. It’s called the Mexico City Policy. Go to the end of this blog to read more from White House Producer Laura Robertson on this policy.
A source with knowledge of the situation says the fact that Obama will not issue this executive order today (on the same day of the huge March for Life rally in DC) sends a strong signal to religious leaders across the political spectrum that President Obama wants to set a different tone in Washington.
President Reagan first implemented the policy but President Clinton reversed it on this day of January 22, 1993. January 22nd is the annual March for Life rally. President Bush then reversed Clinton’s executive order on this on January 22, 2001.
It is unclear whether Obama intends to reverse the Mexico City Policy at some point in the future but this reliable source tells me that this move signals that Obama will stress the need for reducing abortions in this country rather than focus on the divisive tit for tat policy reversals of the past. As a matter of fact, President Obama may actually release an abortion related statement today about this need to reduce them. The point here is that President Obama has opted out of the “in your face” politics of the past. He may reverse Mexico City Policy at some point. Many on both sides of the abortion debate expect he probably will at some point but today is a day where Obama took the more tactful and less confrontational approach.
It looks like the debate over abortion is now shifting to not just how to reduce abortions but also to women’s health issues. Clearly, the Obama administration is showing that it has other priorities that they want to focus on and for a President who has said he wants to be inclusive this would be a bold move in that direction.
Rick Warren ticked off gay rights activists. There’s no doubt that many in the pro-choice movement will not be happy that Obama left out this executive order on a day where he signed many others. A little sniping on the left won’t hurt Obama at all as he tries to carve a more centrist image.
From Laura Kraus:
The Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule by critics, prohibits all federally funded NGOs from performing abortions in other countries. It was in place from 1984 until 1993, and reinstituted by Bush in 2001. Under the policy, federally funded NGOs must pledge that they will “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations,” except in rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
• Clinton repealed the policy in January, 1993 because he said it was “excessively broad.”
• Bush reinstated as his first executive order it so that taxpayer dollars would not be used to pay for or advocate abortion programs overseas.
• In September, 2007, Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced an amendment to the fundraising conditions of the policy, and it passed 53-41.
• Critics of the policy say it doesn’t allow certain NGOs to have access to USAID-supplied contraception and condoms, which increases unwanted pregnancy.
• Supporters say it prevents additional abortions, and keeps the U.S. government from intervening with restrictive abortion laws in certain countries, like the Philippines.