If there was any doubt about President Donald Trump’s stance on abortion, he settled it Monday by using an executive order to bar U.S. aid to groups that provide or promote the procedure overseas.
The decision to reinstate the Republican policy known as the “Mexico City policy,” or the “global gag rule,” was delivered a day after the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and two days after the Women’s March on Washington and similar events across the country drew crowds to rally for reproductive rights, among other issues. During the presidential campaign, Trump vowed to appoint “pro-life” Supreme Court justices. He said that if the Roe decision is overturned, the question of whether abortion is legal would go back to individual states.
The Mexico City policy has been instituted by every Republican president since Ronald Reagan and rescinded by Democratic presidents. It prohibits NGOs that receive federal funding — including health care providers or organizations — from providing or promoting abortion or from advocating for abortion laws abroad.
The policy was issued by executive order, just as it has been done by past Republican presidents, often within days of taking office. It comes on the heels of a sweeping order Trump signed Friday evening encouraging federal agencies to dismantle large parts of Obamacare.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said Trump’s move puts “ideological politics over women and families’ futures,”adding she would introduce bipartisan legislation to reverse the policy.
Abortion-right s group NARAL immediately issued a statement Monday condemning Trump’s move. “It’s telling that one of Trump’s first executive actions combines two of his favorite things: silencing anyone who disagrees with him and repressing women,” the group said. “With this action, Donald Trump has turned his anti-women rhetoric into policy, and made it more difficult for women and families all over the world to access vital reproductive care. He really is living up to the lowest of expectations.”