The Mexico City Policy, established in 1984 by then-President Ronald Reagan, is a policy that prohibits U.S. funding going towards international abortion and family planning services offered by non-governmental organizations. The policy has been famously rescinded under each Democratic president since it was established, and re-instated under each Republican president, now including Donald Trump.
Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration has ignored crucial facts observed each time the policy goes into effect. Not only has the policy led to unsafe abortions, but it has actually increased the number of abortions women are receiving in areas where the clinics were once partially funded by U.S. dollars.
While the apparent intention of Trump and Pence is to minimize abortions in accordance with conservative anti-choice sentiment, the policy has proved to be ineffective in this way. While causing major health problems for mothers who have no option besides unsanitary and unsafe abortion methods, it increases the number of abortions needed since women and their partners also end up having less access to birth control and family planning education.
Pence vehemently attacks women’s rights on the grounds that taxpayer dollars should not be used to “take innocent lives,” the same phrase Rand Paul used when Tweeting about the reinstatement on Monday afternoon. The irony was not lost on those who oppose the deal, who have expressed outrage at the fact that the President’s decision is putting the lives and health of many women at risk. In the past, clinics that have not acted in accordance with the policy have had funding cut for other medical practices and aid.
Trump’s attacks on women’s rights and their bodies did not start, and will not end here. He has expressed his opposition to the federal funding of Planned Parenthood, which the conservative congress has been itching to defund since long before Trump’s place in office. Pence is also in strong support of these misogynistic and unproductive policies.
It is important for progressives to remember to oppose threats on women abroad, not just at home. It is true that Trump will likely come after the reproductive rights of women in America, but his misogynistic tyranny has already begun on women internationally. The January 21 marches were an incredible action, but it must not end there. Those 3 million people in the street need to continue expressing disapproval for actions such as these. We will not stand down.