By Kathleen Gilbert

PRINCETON, New Jersey, February 3, 2009 ( – A recent Gallup poll has shown that Obama’s decision to rescind the Mexico City Policy is by far his least popular out of seven of his earliest actions rated by Americans.

The Mexico City Policy, which was instituted by Ronald Reagan and reinstated by George W. Bush after the Clinton years, banned U.S. taxpayer dollars from funding international organizations that provide or promote abortion.

Last weekend’s poll showed that, while Obama received approval ratings hovering around 75% for such actions as tightening ethics rules for administration officials, limiting interrogation techniques, and instituting higher fuel efficiency standards, the number plunged to 35% approving of his decision to provide U.S. foreign aid for abortion groups.  58% said they opposed the move, leaving 7% undecided.

The disapproval was especially strong among Republicans, only 8% of whom approved.  

However, support was drastically lower for the abortion move in all parties when compared to the president’s other actions.  Only 59% approved among Democrats, who were otherwise extremely supportive of Obama’s actions: 5 out of 7 actions were approved by 85-89% of Democrats.  Only one in three listed as Independent supported the abortion move.

The results appear to confirm the sentiments of Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who said the Mexico City Policy had represented “common ground” as it allowed funding for true family planning without encouraging the spread of abortion. (

Smith, a veteran pro-life leader in Congress, introduced a bill to reinstate the Mexico City Policy days after Obama repealed it.  A similar amendment introduced to the Senate by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) was rejected last week.

Commenting on the poll results, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization devoted to getting pro-life women elected to public office, agreed with Smith.

“This week’s Gallup poll revealed the truth that President Obama’s decision to roll back the commonsense Mexico City Policy is out of step with the attitudes of the majority of American taxpayers,” said the Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.  

Urging Obama to “abandon the radical abortion bailout agenda,” Dannenfelser added, “Americans want him to endorse policies that actually reduce abortion, not promote it at the taxpayer’s expense.”

Fr. David M. O’Connell, President of Catholic University of America, predicted that Catholic Americans would not passively accept a policy that shows such marked disregard for unborn life.

“I don’t think President Obama is looking for a fight but I think he’s certainly going to get one as he wiggles away from issues that are very important to the Church,” Fr. O’Connell said in remarks published by Fox News last week. 

“I’m sure for many Catholics who supported Obama because they believed in his words to do everything he could to reduce abortions,” he continued. “This comes as a disappointment, and even a betrayal to some.”

See related coverage:

Congressman Chris Smith Introduces New Bill to Reinstate Mexico City Policy