Catholics for Choice Statement on the Overturning of the Mexico City Policy
Washington DC – Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, issued a statement today welcoming the reversal of the Global Gag Rule by President Barack Obama.
“Today’s executive order overturning the Mexico City Policy, or Global Gag Rule as it is more commonly known, is tremendously encouraging. It marks the first step on President Obama’s journey towards restoring confidence in America and America’s foreign policy. It is especially fitting that the reversal takes place as we mark the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in the United States.
“For the past eight years the gag rule has represented an unconscionable attack on free speech and the rights of women to have access to information about abortion services. It could never have been imposed in the United States, where citizens enjoy the right to free speech. The gag rule has had a severe impact in the global south by gutting practical, life-saving programs and curtailing the effectiveness of many national and international family planning policies and organizations. The policy did nothing to reduce the need for abortion—it simply brought American development aid into disrepute.
“Catholics in the United States and elsewhere support aid for international family planning programs and reject abstinence-only education. Catholics support access to safe and legal abortion services and back family planning and condom use to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.
“On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Obama has started to make good on his promise to renew the United States’ global leadership on sound, scientifically accurate health policies. There is much still to be done, notably on the restoration of funding to UNFPA and reforming existing policies on embryonic stem-cell research and abstinence-only sex education programs. The American public, including American Catholics, support reforms in these areas and we look forward to constructive discussions about what can be achieved in the coming period.”