WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The Biden administration made good Thursday afternoon on its declaration that it was about to resume sending foreign aid dollars to commit and promote abortions worldwide, provoking strong reactions from both friends and foes of the abortion industry.
As announced earlier today, President Joe Biden’s presidential memorandum revokes predecessor Donald Trump’s 2017 policy, which not only reinstated the Mexico City Policy’s ban on foreign aid to groups that committed abortions, but took the additional step of expanding it to groups that promote or discuss abortion; and directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “review the Title X Rule and any other regulations governing the Title X program that impose undue restrictions on the use of Federal funds or women’s access to complete medical information.”
In his memorandum, Biden also withdrew the United States’ signature from the Geneva Consensus Declaration, which reaffirmed “that there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion, consistent with the long-standing international consensus that each nation has the sovereign right to implement programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies.”
Before signing the executive order, Biden said he was not “initiating any new law, any new aspect of the law. This is going back to what the situation was prior to the (former) president’s executive order.”
President Biden: “Today, I'm about to sign two executive orders…to undo the damage Trump has done.” pic.twitter.com/xKoc2uGrBP
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 28, 2021
“No one requires me to do anything,” Biden added before reporters were asked to leave the Oval Office, in spite of strong support for the president from pro-abortion organizations that want easier access federal funding for their abortion procedures.
Trump’s expansion of the Mexico City Policy resulted in international abortion providers Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes losing millions because they refused to drop abortion in order to qualify for the money. Marie Stopes also had to close hundreds of operations across Africa. At the same time, reviews by the State Department found that most recipients have complied with the new rules without issue, leaving the distribution of legitimate foreign aid unharmed. His Title X rule required “clear financial and physical separation between Title X-funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning” and bans “referral for abortion as a method of family planning.” It was projected to cut almost $60 million from the $616 million Planned Parenthood received during the most recent fiscal year.
The abortion lobby is celebrating the development:
Today, we celebrate these initial steps on the path towards reclaiming full ownership over our bodies, our health, and our futures. We're grateful @POTUS & @VP have begun to right the wrongs of the last four years — but this is only the beginning. #ReproBlueprint #BuildBackBetter https://t.co/7ULDo6OXam
— Alexis McGill Johnson (@alexismcgill) January 28, 2021
What’s the global gag rule? Glad you asked. It's foreign policy, first introduced by Reagan, that prohibits foreign NGOs that get global health funding from the U.S. from using their own separate resources to engage in abortion related work. And its days are numbered.
— NARAL (@NARAL) January 28, 2021
THIS is why we fought so hard. Thank you @POTUS for ending the #GlobalGagRule and starting to undo the harm and damage done in the last 4 years. This is only the beginning of what we hope we can do together: https://t.co/cOpIIlw1AS #ReproBlueprint https://t.co/gTJDiX9k3O pic.twitter.com/VqBvHMvrET
— NAF (@NatAbortionFed) January 28, 2021
“I’m proud to see the Biden-Harris administration re-establish U.S. leadership on reproductive rights by immediately addressing an archaic ban that was weaponized by the Trump administration,” said EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock. “Plain and simple, rescinding the global gag rule will save thousands of lives. Under the Trump administration, the ban constrained our global health partners who faced threats to foreign assistance to roll back global sexual and reproductive health rights. As a result, many clinics were forced to shut down, contributing to deaths from childbirth complications and unsafe abortion.”
Pro-life activists, meanwhile, are lamenting it as a tragedy.
“President Biden is returning to the pro-abortion policies of Barack Obama and forcing taxpayers back into a partnership with the overseas abortion industry,” said Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. “The abortion industry is well known for relentlessly pursuing taxpayer dollars — and will exploit any opportunity to grab U.S. taxpayer money. With this action, President Biden is throwing aside any notion of uniting or ‘healing’ America’s political division and is demonstrating that ‘unity’ means conformity to the goals and priorities of the Left.”
“President Biden has unmasked his intention to be an abortion extremist and to promote abortion as a centerpiece of his ‘healthcare’ agenda, proving his claim to be a unifier is nothing but a farce,” said Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance. “Biden’s pro-abortion agenda breaks with the vast majority of Americans, including a majority who identify as pro-choice, who oppose this agenda.”
“Funneling U.S. tax dollars to abortion groups overseas is an abhorrent practice that flies in the face of the ‘unity’ Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promised to inspire,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Rather than rally the nation around common ground policies to affirm and promote life, today they force taxpayers to bankroll abortion businesses overseas, opening up a slush fund for groups like Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. These abortion industry giants shamefully push their agenda on deeply pro-life nations and cultures. Americans across the political spectrum oppose the use of taxpayer funding to promote abortion and abortion businesses. Despite this, the new administration is moving forward with a payout to the abortion industry that backed their political campaign.”
Biden rescinds the Mexico City Policy, which restricts US tax dollars from funding abortions overseas.
Do not tell me that Biden is a man of faith.
Do not tell me he cares about the vulnerable.
Do not tell me that he listens to “science.”
He is an abortion-monger. https://t.co/QVsHbwxCdz
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) January 28, 2021
Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy
January 23, 2017
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
SUBJECT: The Mexico City Policy
I hereby revoke the Presidential Memorandum of January 23, 2009, for the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (Mexico City Policy and Assistance for Voluntary Population Planning), and reinstate the Presidential Memorandum of January 22, 2001, for the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (Restoration of the Mexico City Policy).
I direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by law, to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.
I further direct the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.
This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
The Secretary of State is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
DONALD J. TRUMP
* * * * *
Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad
January 28, 2021
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE, THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Section 1. Policy. Women should have access to the healthcare they need. For too many women today, both at home and abroad, that is not possible. Undue restrictions on the use of Federal funds have made it harder for women to obtain necessary healthcare. The Federal Government must take action to ensure that women at home and around the world are able to access complete medical information, including with respect to their reproductive health.
In the United States, Title X of the Public Health Services Act (42 U.S.C. 300 to 300a-6) provides Federal funding for family planning services that primarily benefit low-income patients. The Act specifies that Title X funds may not be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning, but places no further abortion-related restrictions on recipients of Title X funds. See 42 U.S.C. 300a-6. In 2019, the Secretary of Health and Human Services finalized changes to regulations governing the Title X program and issued a final rule entitled “Compliance With Statutory Program Integrity Requirements,” 84 Fed. Reg. 7714 (Mar. 4, 2019) (Title X Rule), which prohibits recipients of Title X funds from referring patients to abortion providers and imposes other onerous requirements on abortion providers. The Title X Rule has caused the termination of Federal family planning funding for many women’s healthcare providers and puts women’s health at risk by making it harder for women to receive complete medical information.
It is the policy of my Administration to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States, as well as globally. The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151b(f)(1)), prohibits nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that receive Federal funds from using those funds “to pay for the performance of abortions as a method of family planning, or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.” The August 1984 announcement by President Reagan of what has become known as the “Mexico City Policy” directed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand this limitation and withhold USAID family planning funds from NGOs that use non-USAID funds to perform abortions, provide advice, counseling, or information regarding abortion, or lobby a foreign government to legalize abortion or make abortion services more easily available. These restrictions were rescinded by President Clinton in 1993, reinstated by President George W. Bush in 2001, and rescinded by President Obama in 2009. President Trump substantially expanded these restrictions by applying the policy to global health assistance provided by all executive departments and agencies (agencies). These excessive conditions on foreign and development assistance undermine the United States’ efforts to advance gender equality globally by restricting our ability to support women’s health and programs that prevent and respond to gender-based violence. The expansion of the policy has also affected all other areas of global health assistance, limiting the United States’ ability to work with local partners around the world and inhibiting their efforts to confront serious health challenges such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, among others. Such restrictions on global health assistance are particularly harmful in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Accordingly, I hereby order as follows:
Sec. 2. Revocations and Other Actions. (a) The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall review the Title X Rule and any other regulations governing the Title X program that impose undue restrictions on the use of Federal funds or women’s access to complete medical information and shall consider, as soon as practicable, whether to suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding, those regulations, consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act.
(b) The Presidential Memorandum of January 23, 2017 (The Mexico City Policy), is revoked.
(c) The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Administrator of USAID, and appropriate officials at all other agencies involved in foreign assistance shall take all steps necessary to implement this memorandum, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law. This shall include the following actions with respect to conditions in assistance awards that were imposed pursuant to the January 2017 Presidential Memorandum and that are not required by the Foreign Assistance Act or any other law:
(i) immediately waive such conditions in any current grants;
(ii) notify current grantees, as soon as possible, that these conditions have been waived; and
(iii) immediately cease imposing these conditions in any future assistance awards.
(d) The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Administrator of USAID, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, shall suspend, revise, or rescind any regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions that were issued pursuant to the January 2017 Presidential Memorandum.
(e) The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in a timely and appropriate manner, shall withdraw co-sponsorship and signature from the Geneva Consensus Declaration (Declaration) and notify other co-sponsors and signatories to the Declaration and other appropriate parties of the United States’ withdrawal.
(f) The Secretary of State, consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations, shall:
(i) take the steps necessary to resume funding to the United Nations Population Fund; and
(ii) work with the Administrator of USAID and across United States Government foreign assistance programs to ensure that adequate funds are being directed to support women’s health needs globally, including sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
(g) The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall provide guidance to agencies consistent with this memorandum.
Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(d) The Secretary of State is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.