(CNSNews.com) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would not comment Friday on President Obama’s reversal of the Mexico City Policy, which had prohibited U.S. tax dollars from going to organizations that promote or perform abortions abroad.
The executive order means that abortions around the globe will now be paid for by federal funds. While Obama was expected to issue the order sometime Friday, he did not actually do so until around 7:00 p.m. that night--when weekly news coverage is at a minimum.
“That’s not SCHIP,” Reid responded to CNSNews.com when asked about the move to have the United States government fund abortions in other countries. Reid was speaking at a press conference at the Capitol on Friday afternoon in support of legislation to provide health insurance for children paid for by states and the federal government.
“We can talk about that some other day,” Reid said.
Obama promised during his presidential campaign that he would reverse the Mexico City Policy that was orginally put in place by President Ronald Reagan during a 1984 international summit in Mexico City.
President Clinton reversed the policy on his second day in office in 1993--on the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court 's Jan. 22, 1973 opinion legalizing abortion throughout the United States.
President George Bush reinstated the policy on Jan. 22, 2001, on his second day in office.
Obama reversed the policy on Jan. 23, 2009.
Pro-life reaction to the order was pointed.
Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who works with the pro-life group Priests for Life, held a press conference in front of the White House on Friday, in anticipation of Obama's executive order.
“Over 45 years ago, my uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wrote from a Birmingham jail cell that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’” King said in a prepared statement. “Today, there is no greater injustice than that suffered by the 4,000 babies, 1,400 of them black, who die on any given day at the hands of abortionists.”
King said she wanted to “testify to President Obama that while he is living his dreams, those babies will be dying horrible deaths because of the policies he supports.”
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, issued a statement Friday criticizing Obama’s decision.
“Here we have a black president taking money from the taxpayers in a time of economic crisis and giving it to organizations—many of which are anti-Catholic—so they can spend it on killing non-white babies in Third World nations,” Donohue said.
In a statement on Friday, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life Action said, “What a terrible way to begin a new administration: with an abortion business bailout that will exploit women in developing countries for political ends. We should not export the tragedy of abortion to other nations, and we certainly shouldn’t do so via the hard-earned dollars of American taxpayers.”
But the president’s order is being hailed by pro-abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the largest recipient of Title X federal family planning funds--more than $300 million a year--and the largest abortion provider in the United States, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
Dr. Gill Greer, director general of the London-based International Planned Parenthood Federation, released a statement praising Obama’s then-pending decision.
“The gag rule has done immense harm and caused untold suffering to millions around the world,” Greer said. “It has undermined health systems and endangered the lives and health of the poorest and most vulnerable women on the planet by denying access to life saving family planning, sexual and reproductive health and HIV services and exposing them to the dangers of unsafe abortion.”
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, went even further in spelling out what she hopes the new Democrat-controlled Congress and the Obama administration will do for pro-abortion causes.
“While repealing the global gag rule is a critical step in recognizing that women's health must be a priority, it's just a first step,” Richards said in a petition drive letter on Planned Parenthood’s Web site. “The fight for access to health care and rights is an uphill one, and there is serious work to be done to rectify nearly a decade of bad policies not just in the U.S. but around the world.
“In the short term, restoring funding for UNFPA (United Nation’s Population Fund); removing abstinence-only requirements in AIDS funding; and increasing foreign assistance for reproductive health, including $1 billion for family planning, will move us in the right direction,” said Richards.
But King said on Friday she wants Obama to remember the millions of babies that will not have the chance to make history.
“I see the pride on African-American faces everywhere, pride in the tremendous breakthrough President Obama represents,” King said. “But I also can close my eyes and see the millions upon millions of young black, white, red, and yellow faces who never had the chance to live, overcome, or witness history.”