As soon as the 2016 electoral results shifted the political momentum to Donald Trump and the Republican party, supporters of Planned Parenthood became nervous. The organization is constantly criticized for accepting federal support money and providing abortions, something Republicans have promised to end. And President Trump took a symbolic step in that direction Monday.
The President has signed an executive order that reinstates the Mexico City Policy. Essentially this mandate prohibits federal funding from going assisting foreign nonprofit organizations that provide abortion counseling and/or perform abortions.
The Mexico City Policy isn’t new. It was originally implemented by President Ronald Reagan. It is a staple of modern Republican administrations and effectively defunds the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International.
Trump’s supporters are hoping the new President, who has made promises to defund Planned Parenthood, will enact domestic restrictions on the organization as well.
Planned Parenthood’s supporters are quick to point out the fact that the organization uses no federal funding to support abortion, or abortion counseling. Instead, they argue, the federal dollars are spent on other women’s health issues. Critics note that the federal funding allows Planned Parenthood to reallocate its funds internally.
By stripping the federal funds, the government is effectively forcing Planned Parenthood to choose between women’s health, which it claims as its sole mission, and abortion services.
Republican lawmakers are celebrating this move and looking to the very near future. Rep. Michael Burgess, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health, said Trump’s steps are key to “advancing pro-life policies and protecting taxpayer dollars.”
“Life is a precious and sacred gift, and we must do all we can to protect it. I applaud President Trump for taking this important action and look forward to continuing to work together in advancing pro-life policies and protecting taxpayer dollars.”
President Trump’s timing on this is significant in a symbolic way, as well. Monday marks the start of his first full week in office. That makes this decision a sign of the administration’s priorities and sends a very clear signal to the protesters who marched across the nation the day after his inauguration. The move also comes just one day after the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in America.