By Devin Watkins
US President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday which reverses a ban on federal funds for organizations that promote and provide abortions in developing nations.
His order cancelled the so-called Mexico City Policy—also known as the Promoting Life in Global Health Policy.
It barred the use of taxpayer funds from going to organizations which perform abortions, offer abortion counseling, or advocate for so-called ‘abortion rights’.
First enacted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, the policy has previously been cancelled twice by Democratic presidents and renewed twice by Republican ones.
Bishops ‘strongly oppose’ the move
In response, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the United States (USCCB) released a statement lamenting the executive order.
“It is grievous that one of President Biden’s first official acts actively promotes the destruction of human lives in developing nations,” they said.
The statement was signed by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace.
The Bishops say they “strongly oppose” President Biden’s reversal of the policy.
“This Executive Order is antithetical to reason, violates human dignity, and is incompatible with Catholic teaching,” they wrote. “We urge the President to use his office for good, prioritizing the most vulnerable, including unborn children.”
Promoting respect for human life
The US Bishops also note that the Church is “the largest non-government healthcare provider in the world.”
As such, they added, “the Catholic Church stands ready to work with [President Biden] and his administration to promote global women’s health in a manner that furthers integral human development, safeguarding innate human rights and the dignity of every human life, beginning in the womb.”
The Bishops concluded by saying that care must start with “ensuring that the unborn are free from violence, recognizing every person as a child of God.”
March for Life 2021
President Biden’s executive order came just a day ahead of the annual March for Life, which is taking place in a virtual format on Friday.
The yearly event sees thousands of Americans gather in Washington D.C. and elsewhere to promote a culture that respects life from conception to natural death, as well as to voice opposition to abortion.
On Friday, Pope Francis tweeted his support for efforts to protect life.
“The culture of life is the heritage that Christians want to share with everyone,” he tweeted. “Every human life, unique and unrepeatable, is priceless. This must be courageously proclaimed ever anew through word and action.”