Biden to Revoke Mexico City Policy Which Banned Funding Groups Providing Abortions in Foreign Countries

President Biden signs executive actions hours after his inauguration on Wednesday. He is expected to reverse several Trump-era policies. (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Biden is preparing to reverse a Trump administration policy that prohibits U.S. funding for nongovernmental groups that provide or refer patients for abortions — the first of several moves reproductive rights advocates are hoping to see from the Biden administration.

In prepared remarks released by the White House on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci tells the World Health Organization’s executive board that Biden will soon revoke the Mexico City Policy “as part of his broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world.”

The policy, first instituted by the Reagan administration, has pingponged on and off between Republican and Democratic presidents ever since. Trump reinstituted and expanded the policy, which critics describe as a “gag rule,” within days of taking office. An analysis published in 2019 in the medical journal The Lancet found that the Mexico City Policy increased the abortion rate in at least some affected countries, likely because it also reduced access to contraception.

Trump later cut off funding through the federal Title X family planning program to domestic health care providers that perform or refer patients for abortion, prompting organizations including Planned Parenthood to withdraw from the program. Both Trump administration actions were lauded by anti-abortion rights groups, which object to public funding for organizations that are in any way involved in abortion or abortion referrals.

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SOURCE: NPR, Sarah McCammon

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