Bush to Block U.S. Abortion Funds Abroad

May Restore «Mexico City Policy»

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 22, 2001 (Zenit.org).-
President George W. Bush, vowing to protect «every person at every stage and season of life,´´ said today he will take swift action to restrict U.S. funds to international family-planning groups involved in abortion, the Associate Press reported.

Bush was expected to issue the order, among the first policy moves of the new Republican administration, as early as this afternoon, the same day that abortion opponents staged their annual march on Washington, AP said.

Abortion activist Kate Michelman saw it as Bush´s latest move against so-called reproductive rights, following on his nomination of staunch pro-lifer to key Cabinet posts — former Sen. John Ashcroft for attorney general and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson as secretary of health and human services.

Current law bans the use of U.S. funds for any abortions in foreign countries. Former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush further banned U.S. aid to international groups that use their own money to support abortion — either through performing the surgery, counseling on abortion as a family-planning option, or lobbying foreign governments on abortion policy — in what became known as the Mexico City policy because it was announced by Reagan at a 1984 population conference there.

President Bill Clinton repealed the policy two days after he entered office in 1993. U.S. funds will flow unrestricted to international family-planning groups on Feb. 15 unless the new president acts by executive order to impose abortion restrictions, as Bush has decided to do.

With the Bush White House signaling a pro-life decision, abortion opponents celebrated.

«This means that the U.S. government will no longer be using taxpayer dollars to try to legalize abortion in countries in Latin America, Africa and Muslim countries in which the people are strongly opposed to abortion and believe in the protection of unborn children,´´ said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life Committee.

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