The White House announced Thursday morning that President Biden will sign an executive order rescinding a rule known as the Mexico City policy which prohibits foreign non-governmental organizations from receiving U.S. funding if they promote or perform abortion as a method of family planning.
The policy, first turned into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1985 and announced at a UN conference in Mexico City, has been repealed by Democratic presidents and reinstated by Republicans for decades. Biden’s order will come almost four years to the day since former President Donald Trump signed an order that revived it.
“Across the country and around the world, people — particularly women, Black, Indigenous and other people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and those with low incomes — have been denied access to reproductive health care,” the White House said in a statement announcing that Biden will “protect and expand access to comprehensive reproductive health care” through a presidential memorandum. “The memorandum reflects the policy of the Biden-Harris Administration to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States, as well as globally.”
Trump’s 2017 memorandum had revived the policy under President George W. Bush, which prohibited the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from giving money to foreign NGOs that performed or promoted abortion, with exceptions for rape, incest, or when needed to save a life.
Trump’s memo directed the State Department to extend this to all federal departments and agencies. According to a 2020 State Department report, only eight out of 1,340 “prime awardees” who received funding between May 2017 and September 2018 declined to adhere to the expanded policy.
A new poll from Marist and the Knights of Columbus showed that 58% of Americans oppose or strongly oppose using taxpayer dollars to support abortion. That included a 65% of Independents and 31% of Democrats.
The poll indicated some kind of opposition to overseas funding of abortion, asking more broadly: “Do you strongly support, support, oppose, or strongly oppose using tax dollars to support abortion in other countries?”
A majority of Americans (77%) opposed or strongly opposed that proposition, including 64% who identified as “pro-choice.”
Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.