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EM – 1/23/17: Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy

President Ronald Reagan at a political rally.

By Tom Milligan

Just a few days after taking office, President Trump took action on the Mexico City Policy.

I know right?!

Like most Americans, I lay awake many a night hoping that whoever won the election would address this urgent issue.  

Just kidding.

I’m sure most of us are asking:


Well it’s pretty simple:

At the 2nd International Conference on Population – held in Mexico City in 1984 – the Reagan Administration announced a new policy on US aid which became known as the Mexico City Policy.  

Prior to this policy, the US government provided U.S. family planning assistance (i.e. money) to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as long as they didn’t use that money to promote or perform abortions as a method of family planning.  But in order to receive funding from the US, they were required to maintain segregated accounts for any U.S. money received.

In other words, they could still promote and perform abortions.  They just couldn’t do it on our dime.

The Mexico City Policy eliminated funding for any foreign NGO that promoted or performed abortions as an acceptable element of family planning programs – regardless of the segregation of funds.

The original language of the Mexico City Policy included the following explanation:

“[T]he United States does not consider abortion an acceptable element of family planning programs and will no longer contribute to those of which it is a part. …[T]he United States will no longer contribute to separate non-governmental organizations which perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”

In other words, the United States of America got out of the abortion funding business.

Thank you Ronald Reagan!

The Policy remained in effect through the rest of the Reagan Administration and the entire Bush Administration.  

But, since it was only a policy, and not actual law, the Policy was rescinded by Bill Clinton in 1993.

George W Bush reinstated the Policy in 2001.

But naturally, Barack Obama rescinded it in 2009.

Does anyone else see a pattern developing?tug-of-war

Now that I know what the Mexico City Policy is, and see the tug-of-war that’s been played out over the last 32 years, I’m not surprised at all to learn that one of the first things Donald Trump did is to reinstate the Policy.

Just so we’re clear, I don’t believe for one second that Donald Trump is pro-life.  Far from it.

I simply believe that Donald saw an opportunity to stick it to Obama and pander to his misguided base while saving the US some money.

Regardless of his reasons, anything that has a chance to reduce or eliminate abortions while saving tax dollars will always get my full support.


Executive Orders, Actions, and Memoranda are routinely rescinded based on the shifting political winds.  More than any Executive Action I’ve read so far, this one underscores the fact that for ANY program, strategy, or plan to survive from one Administration to the next, it must become law.  

The President MUST involve Congress as our founders intended and as our Constitution demands.

If Donald Trump cares about this – or any other Policy, he’ll work with Congress to make it an actual law.

Click here to read my reviews on other Executive Actions & Orders

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