sunny.png
Monday March 8th, 2021 4:23PM

Biden rescinds abortion restrictions on US foreign aid

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday rescinded a regulation that barred U.S. foreign aid from being used to perform or promote abortions. His decision, while expected, was cheered by abortion-choice advocates and some humanitarian groups and denounced by anti-abortion groups.

The move also included a restoration of American funding to the U.N. Population Fund and withdraws the U.S. from an international accord that promotes anti-abortion policies. The steps came just a week after he was inaugurated and fulfills a campaign pledge to reverse a policy that previous Republican presidents, including his immediate predecessor, Donald Trump, had instated immediately on taking office.

The policy — known as the “Mexico City” rule, after the place where it was first announced at an international population conference, or the “global gag rule” — has been a political ping-pong ball, bouncing back and forth between Republican and Democratic presidents since it was first enacted in 1985 during President Ronald Reagan's second term.

“These excessive conditions on foreign and development assistance undermine the United States’ efforts to advance gender equality globally by restricting our ability to support women’s health and programs that prevent and respond to gender-based violence,” Biden said in a memorandum to his Cabinet.

“The expansion of the policy has also affected all other areas of global health assistance, limiting the United States’ ability to work with local partners around the world and inhibiting their efforts to confront serious health challenges such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, among others,” he said. “Such restrictions on global health assistance are particularly harmful in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.”

Accompanying Biden's determination was a decision to restore funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which Trump had ended over its alleged support for forced abortions and sterilizations in China. The fund has denied those allegations. The year before Trump terminated the funding, the U.S. had provided $69 million to the UNFPA.

In addition, Biden directed the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services to withdraw from the so-called Geneva Consensus, an October 2020 document signed by 34 countries that sought to promote anti-abortion policies and others deemed "pro-family" worldwide. The consensus had been co-sponsored by the U.S. and was signed by numerous nations critics consider to be undemocratic or authoritarian.

Critics of Trump's policies say they had hurt women’s reproductive health care and contributed to poverty worldwide. Supporters argue they are essential to preserve the sanctity of life.

Trump had expanded the Mexico City rule to include nearly all federal health funding, but its effects were felt most abroad, where U.S. assistance can be an essential part of a country's health care spending.

Although supporters of the policy argue that the overall amount of U.S. health care aid was not affected, critics maintain it contributed to a rise in pregnancy-related complications as well other issues by forcing some clinics to reduce broader health services, including for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases, if they wanted to retain funding.

Reaction to Biden's decision was swift and sharp, even before it was officially announced. Abortion-rights groups and Democratic lawmakers hailed it as key to improving women's lives, while anti-abortion groups denounced it as immoral and unnecessary.

“The Global Gag Rule has had a sweeping effect on lifesaving health care in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “It is shameful that the Trump administration chose to not only implement but exponentially expand this ill-conceived policy to historic proportions.”

She called it “an important first step to restore access to family planning services and mitigate the damage caused by an administration that pursued this dangerous policy without regard for its impact."

Doctors Without Borders, which has spoken out against the Mexico City policy, welcomed the move but said more must be done to address the global health care crisis.

“While we are relieved to see a halt to this dangerous policy, there is much more work to do to mitigate the damage we have witnessed. Rescinding the Global Gag Rule is just a first step," it said. “Millions of women still don’t have access to safe abortion care because of restrictive laws, cost, stigma, a lack of trained providers, or other unnecessary barriers, such as mandatory waiting periods or misleading information.”

Anti-abortion groups and lawmakers were equally as strident in their condemnation.

“U.S. foreign policy — and the foreign entities we fund with billions of dollars in grant money — should consistently affirm, care for, and tangibly assist women and children — including unborn baby girls and boys,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who has been one of the most vocal abortion opponents in Congress.

“Funneling U.S. tax dollars to abortion groups overseas is an abhorrent practice that flies in the face of the ‘unity’ Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promised to inspire,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which seeks to elect anti-abortion candidates to Congress and other offices.

Echoing the comments of others, she blasted the Biden administration for once again allowing taxpayer money to fund abortions, maintaining the move was payback for a group of “abortion industry giants” that support the president's campaign for president.

“Pushing abortion on other nations is not compassion, it is ideological neo-colonization,” said Lila Rose of Live Action, a national anti-abortion group. "This decision is a dark day for our nation — it will lead to more deaths of more children and for that, Joe Biden should be ashamed.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Health - Women's health
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden rescinds abortion restrictions on US foreign aid
President Joe Biden has rescinded a regulation that barred U.S. foreign aid from being used to perform or promote abortions
2:02PM ( 7 minutes ago )
South Carolina Senate passes bill outlawing most abortions
The South Carolina Senate has passed a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state
1:56PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Virus variant from South Africa detected in US for 1st time
A new coronavirus variant identified in South Africa has been found in the United States for the first time
1:49PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Pelosi denounces GOP leaders over Georgia lawmaker's posts
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is intensifying the pressure on a controversial Republican freshman
12:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
Texas takes on Biden but Republicans keep distance from AG
President Joe Biden’s agenda was dealt an early blow by a court in Texas this week
12:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
Virus aid, no new taxes top US gambling industry 2021 goals
The U.S. gambling industry wants additional financial aid from the next round of coronavirus stimulus legislation, and promises to fight new or higher taxes on its operations as it works to recover from the pandemic
12:26PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
New Biden health care orders begin to unspool Trump policies
President Joe Biden is taking his first steps to reverse Trump administration health care policies
9:42AM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: WHO EU chief: Nations clamoring for vaccine
The European chief for the World Health Organization says “the telephone line is very hot” in conversations with European Union officials and others clamoring for more coronavirus vaccines
8:41AM ( 5 hours ago )
Biden seen likely to keep Space Force, a Trump favorite
President Joe Biden has been working quickly to undo many initiatives by his predecessor
7:05AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
In virus-struck Europe, jabs trigger intense political fight
In Europe beyond the medical complexity, the humanitarian needs and the personal pain, the pandemic is also an intense political fight
1:08PM ( 1 hour ago )
UK's Johnson faces criticism over Scotland trip in lockdown
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing accusations of not abiding by lockdown rules after he traveled  to Scotland to laud the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the United Kingdom
12:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
WHO team in Wuhan departs quarantine for COVID origins study
A World Health Organization team has emerged from quarantine in the Chinese city of Wuhan to start field work in a fact-finding mission on the origins of the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic
12:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Health
Argentina's abortion law enters force under watchful eyes
Argentina’s groundbreaking abortion law has gone into force under the watchful eyes of women’s groups and government officials, who hope to ensure its full implementation despite opposition from conservative and church groups
1:04PM ( 4 days ago )
Biden charts new US direction, promises many Trump reversals
President-elect Joe Biden is pledging a new path for the nation after Donald Trump’s four years in office
12:16AM ( 1 week ago )
What should I know about COVID-19 vaccines if I'm pregnant?
Vaccination is likely the best way to prevent COVID-19 in pregnancy, when risks for severe illness and death from the virus are higher than usual
3:52AM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Health - Women's health
South Carolina Senate passes bill outlawing most abortions
The South Carolina Senate has passed a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state
1:56PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Virus variant from South Africa detected in US for 1st time
A new coronavirus variant identified in South Africa has been found in the United States for the first time
1:49PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Michigan Sen. Peters to lead Dem efforts to expand majority
Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, who won a tough reelection race in the fall, will lead Democrats’ efforts to expand their current razor-thin Senate majority in 2022
1:48PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Airlines close books on rotten 2020 and so far, 2021 is grim
Southwest Airlines lost $3.1 billion last year, its first full-year loss since Richard Nixon was president and gasoline sold for about 36 cents a gallon
1:37PM ( 33 minutes ago )
The Latest: Vegas-Blues game postponed due to COVID protocol
The Vegas Golden Knights’ game against the St. Louis Blues has been postponed
1:35PM ( 35 minutes ago )