Council of Europe, Planned Parenthood Attack US Pro-Life Foreign Policy

The Mexico City Policy, the pro-life centerpiece of Bush administration foreign policy, was attacked on two separate fronts this week. On Tuesday, the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly voted 89 to 8 to condemn the Mexico City Policy and to encourage President Bush to rescind it.

At the same time, a group of abortion providers and population control advocates, including the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a report claiming that, because of the policy, the administration was responsible for killing women and for subverting democracy throughout the developing world.

The Mexico City Policy was first enacted as an executive order of President Reagan at a population conference in 1984, and it forbade the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from funding foreign abortion providers or promoters. President Clinton dropped the policy on his first day in office, and President Bush reinstated it as one of his own initial acts in office. Last month, the Mexico City Policy was extended to apply to State Department funding of family planning programs, as well as to USAID funding.

The Mexico City Policy has long been derided as “the global gag rule” by its detractors, but the intensity and coordination of the current attacks seem greater than before. Ans Zwerver, a Dutch Socialist and a guiding force behind the Council’s decision, told the Agence France-Presse that the Mexico City Policy “is a contradiction in itself, it is not pro-life, but rather against it,” because “all women should have access to abortions performed under ‘secure and accessible’ conditions.” Zwerver also said that the policy has had “an insidiously negative influence on the climate of opinion relating to reproductive and sexual health services.”

In a report called “Access Denied,” Population Action International, Ipas, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, EngenderHealth and Pathfinder International claim that the policy is maiming and killing women, and stifling democratic debate.

However, during testimony before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 2001, the economist Dr. Maria Sophia Aguirre stated that “the fact that some organizations want to advocate abortion and to perform abortions does not mean that US tax money should pay for it. Nothing in the Mexico City Policy forbids these groups from advocacy. It simply denies the use of funds for this purpose.”

Also, despite the Mexico City Policy, the US remains the world’s largest provider of funds for international family planning programs, spending well over $400 million annually.

The groups involved in the “Access Denied” project have a long history of radical activism. Population Action International was founded in 1965 to foster the population control agenda. On its website, it still warns that world population could balloon to over 18 billion people. Ipas manufactures abortion devices for the developing world, and claims that girls over the age of ten should have access to “safe, legal abortion.”

Copyright – C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).

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