Biden Signs Executive Order Allowing the U.S. to Fund Global Abortions

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President Biden signed an executive order Thursday afternoon reversing the Mexico City policy, permitting U.S. aid money once again to fund groups that provide or promote abortion around the globe.

The policy was first put in place by President Ronald Reagan in an effort to ensure that taxpayers were not required to indirectly fund abortion procedures performed in other countries. The policy has been undone via executive order by every subsequent Democratic administration and reinstated by each Republican one.

The Trump administration expanded the policy to include not only family planning funds distributed by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development but also all foreign-health assistance provided by government agencies, including the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and the Defense Department. That expanded policy, “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” increased the amount of U.S. funding covered by the abortion prohibition from about $600 million to nearly $9 billion.

Abortion advocates and interest groups in the U.S. oppose the Mexico City policy; Planned Parenthood, for instance, has labeled it a “global gag rule.” During the presidential primary, the Biden campaign promised that his administration would undo the policy and permit U.S. aid money to fund abortions.

But according to public-opinion polls, most Americans don’t want the U.S. to fund abortions in other countries. A new poll out yesterday from Marist and the Knights of Columbus found that more than three-quarters of Americans oppose using U.S. aid money to fund abortions overseas. The same survey shows that voters in Biden’s own party disagree with him on this issue: A slight majority of Democrats said they do not want the U.S. funding global abortions, and nearly two-thirds of self-described pro-choice Americans agreed. Eighty-five percent of independent voters, meanwhile, said they oppose U.S. funding of overseas abortions.

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