Updated with comments by Trump spokesman Sean Spicer and more pro-life leaders.
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – In his very first pro-life action, President Donald Trump signed an executive order today reinstating the “Mexico City Policy” banning government funding of foreign pro-abortion groups like the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
A cultural political football, the policy was first enacted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and was maintained by President George H.W. Bush until it was rescinded first by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993. Eight years later, President George W. Bush reinstated Mexico City and it was in effect until Barack Obama reversed it upon entering office in 2009.
The Mexico City Policy bans funding to organizations that perform abortions overseas or lobby for legalizing them in foreign nations.
Trump’s pro-life action comes a day after the 44th anniversary of the notorious Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, which along with the Court’s Doe v. Bolton decision, established abortion-on-demand as the law of the land.
At the first official White House press conference this afternoon, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said that reinstating the Mexico City Policy illustrates to the people of the United States “and to people of the world…what a value we place on life.” He said it is consistent with Trump, who campaigned as a “pro-life president.”
Trump “wants to stand up for all Americans including the unborn,” and ensure taxpayer funding is ”reflecting American values,” including the respect for life, he added.
Expectations are high among pro-life activists that Trump's executive order will be the first of several pro-life actions taken by the White House in concert with Republicans who control Congress.
In 2009, when Obama rescinded the pro-life Mexico City policy, the National Right to Life Committee described it as follows: “Basically, the policy required grantees to refrain from performing abortions (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest), or lobbying to legalize abortion, or otherwise promoting abortion as a birth-control method. Critics disparaged the policy as a ‘global gag rule.'”
Pro-abortion feminists were complaining loudly over Trump’s expected reinstatement of the Mexico City abortion ban. IPPF retweeted a tweet saying the reinstatement of what it called the “global gag rule” would “put millions of women's lives at risk.”
Trump signed the Mexico City Policy executive order along with two others, one pulling the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade convention and the other enforcing a hiring freeze on all federal agencies except the U.S. military.
Watch President Trump sign the three executive orders:
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, criticized Trump's order on Twitter.
BREAKING: As one of his first acts in office, President Trump has reinstated the #GlobalGag rule.
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) January 23, 2017
But pro-life leaders praised the move as a “great start” to Trump's term in office.
Re-instating the Mexico City policy – federal funding cannot promote abortion overseas –> great news. Abortion should not be a US export.
— Charmaine (@CharmaineYoest) January 23, 2017
Students for Life of America issued a statement saying, “This is a great start to the Trump presidency and we hope this is only the beginning of defunding Planned Parenthood and the end of forcing American taxpayers to fund an industry that ends hundreds of thousands of innocent lives a year and irreparably harms women. This is a new day for all Americans, and we are excited about reversing Planned Parenthood's hold on Washington.”
The student group tweeted, “Thank you @POTUS for reinstating the #MexicoCityPolicy! No more foreign aid for Int'l @PPact. This is only the beginning of #defundPP!”
— Students for Life (@Students4LifeHQ) January 23, 2017
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins applauded President Trump for acting swiftly to restore the Mexico City Policy. “This is a vital step in the journey to make America great again, recognizing and affirming the universal ideal that all human beings have inherent worth and dignity, regardless of their age or nationality,” he said.
“I thank President Trump for issuing an executive order in keeping with his campaign promise that he will protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions,” he added.
Perkins noted that a post-election survey found that “nearly 60 percent of Trump voters were impacted by the Republican Party’s strong pro-life, pro-religious liberty platform.” He said Trump's executive order aligns with GOP platform language stating that funding or participating in abortion violates the principle that there should be a “wall of separation” between taxpayer money and abortion.
Human Life International President Fr. Shenan Boquet also praised the decision. He called it a “common sense policy” supported by most that will help “restor[e] the credibility of the United States as having a foreign policy that respects innocent life.”
“That being said, there is much more to do. The Mexico City Policy should be made permanent, and audits of grant recipients from USAID and other federal agencies should be performed to ensure that it is truly enforced,” Fr. Boquet continued. “The Trump administration has kept one important promise to those who put them in office, we pray that these pro-life decisions continue and that all federal support of abortion is ended without delay, taking us closer to the time when all abortions will be ended, all innocent life welcomed, and all mothers supported in their decision to welcome life into the world.”