What is the Mexico City Policy?

I’ve just spent several days in the midst of our parish’s FOCA Postcard Campaign. Last week was rough, finishing the preparations. There is still some followup to do, but the most exhausting parts are past. My last post was one that I prepared for a delayed posting, so I’m not really sure when was the last day that I was actually here!

This new post  is something I put together in a hurry. Hope it is helpful to you!

Perhaps you are confused by news reports about the MCP. The Catholic Church supports the policy and opposes the recent overturning of it. Here are some details to help you understand the situation.

From www.nchla.org (with additional links there):

At an international population conference in Mexico City in 1984, the Reagan Administration announced that the United States would no longer contribute to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) “which perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” This policy became known as the Mexico City Policy. The policy was upheld in court as constitutional. It remained in place until overturned by President Clinton on January 22, 1993. Congress engaged in extensive debates thereafter as pro-life Members sought to restore the policy through legislation. For one year only – Fiscal Year 2000 – a compromise version became law.

On January 22, 2001, President George W. Bush issued an executive memorandum directing the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to reinstate the Mexico City Policy in full. A February 15, 2001 USAID implementation rule was subject to a challenge under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Since executive memoranda are not subject to challenge under the CRA, the president on March 28, 2001 issued a second executive memorandum that included the content of the February USAID rule.

According to the USAID rule, abortion as a method of family planning excludes abortions to save the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest. It also excludes the treatment of injuries or illnesses caused by legal or illegal abortions. Promoting abortion includes abortion counseling, lobbying a foreign government to change its laws, and conducting public information campaigns.

On August 29, 2003, President Bush extended the Mexico City Policy to all population planning funds, whether furnished by USAID or by other components of the State Department.

From www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2009/09-022.shtml statement released Jan. 23, 2009:

The decision by President Barack Obama to reverse the Mexico City Policy is “very disappointing,” said Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

He made the statement January 23, after President Obama issued the executive order restoring U.S. funding to organizations that perform and promote abortion in developing nations. Cardinal Rigali’s statement follows.

“It is very disappointing that President Obama has reversed the Mexico City Policy, which prevents U.S. funding of organizations that perform and promote abortion as a family planning method in developing nations. An Administration that wants to reduce abortions should not divert U.S. funds to groups that promote abortions.

“Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote to President-elect Obama last week urging him to retain this policy. As Cardinal George said in his letter:

“‘The Mexico City Policy, first established in 1984, has wrongly been attacked as a restriction on foreign aid for family planning. In fact, it has not reduced such aid at all, but has ensured that family planning funds are not diverted to organizations dedicated to performing and promoting abortions instead of reducing them. Once the clear line between family planning and abortion is erased, the idea of using family planning to reduce abortions becomes meaningless, and abortion tends to replace contraception as the means for reducing family size. A shift toward promoting abortion in developing nations would also increase distrust of the United States in these nations, whose values and culture often reject abortion, at a time when we need their trust and respect.'”

There are other sources that could be cited, but this is probably enough for now!


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