This morning, President Trump issued an executive order reinstating the Mexico City policy, also known as the global gag rule, which prevents groups that provide or promote abortion overseas from receiving U.S. aid money. The policy was instituted under Ronald Reagan and by every subsequent Republican president; both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama rescinded the policy during their presidencies.
This news — which some have hailed as evidence of Trump’s authentic pro-life sympathies — comes on the same day as the release of a comprehensive Knights of Columbus-Marist poll, which found that significant majorities of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. In fact, the poll found that Americans overwhelmingly oppose using federal money to fund abortion in other countries, presumably indicting that they would support Trump’s decision to reinstate the Mexico City policy.
Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said they opposed federal funding of overseas abortions, including nearly 40 percent of people who supported Clinton in the 2016 election. Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of Americans oppose federal funding for abortion within the U.S., including about 40 percent of Clinton supporters and 40 percent of self-described pro-choice individuals.
Furthermore, the poll found that 74 percent of Americans — including 54 percent of pro-choice individuals — support placing some restrictions on abortion, whether limiting it to the first three months of pregnancy or to the so-called “extreme” cases of rape, incest, or the mother’s health. A full 55 percent of Clinton supporters said they favor placing significant restrictions on abortion, and nearly 80 percent of black and Hispanic Americans support such limitations. These statistics reveal how out of touch progressives have become: Last year the Democratic party and its nominee supported ending the Hyde Amendment, which forbids taxpayer money from funding abortion.
The revival of the Mexico City policy means that many non-governmental organizations and non-profits will risk losing their federal funding for foreign-aid programs unless they cease providing or advocating abortion in other countries. Though they tend not to be vocal about it, a large number of well-known, global non-profits — such as the United Nations Population Fund and Oxfam, for example — fund increased global access to abortion procedures. Abortion-rights groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL also risk losing federal funding for their global work, and it seems unlikely that they will cease providing abortion around the world in compliance with the policy.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds increased access to abortion procedures. The foundation does not fund abortion access, but, according to Melinda Gates, works to provide women with “the information and tools to time and space their pregnancies in a safe and healthy way that works for them.”