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Bishop Expresses Sadness Over President's Executive Order

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge on President’s Executive Order on “Mexico City Policy”

It is with great sadness and deep regret that we learned today that President Obama signed an executive order that will provide federal tax dollars to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on that option. The President’s action, on what is known as the “Mexico City Policy,” overturns the ban put into effect by executive order in 2001.

This action is cause for grave concern. Thus, our need to be renewed in our commitment to defend and protect human life is greater than ever! On that note, I express gratitude to all who gathered with Bishop Peter J. Jugis and me in Washington on January 22 for the Mass for Life and the March for Life and to all who were with us in prayer and spirit.

Statement from US Conference of Catholic Bishops


WASHINGTON—The decision by President Barack Obama to reverse the Mexico City Policy is “very disappointing,” said Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

He made the statement January 23, after President Obama issued the executive order restoring U.S. funding to organizations that perform and promote abortion in developing nations. Cardinal Rigali’s statement follows.

“It is very disappointing that President Obama has reversed the Mexico City Policy, which prevents U.S. funding of organizations that perform and promote abortion as a family planning method in developing nations. An Administration that wants to reduce abortions should not divert U.S. funds to groups that promote abortions.

“Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote to President-elect Obama last week urging him to retain this policy. As Cardinal George said in his letter:

“‘The Mexico City Policy, first established in 1984, has wrongly been attacked as a restriction on foreign aid for family planning. In fact, it has not reduced such aid at all, but has ensured that family planning funds are not diverted to organizations dedicated to performing and promoting abortions instead of reducing them. Once the clear line between family planning and abortion is erased, the idea of using family planning to reduce abortions becomes meaningless, and abortion tends to replace contraception as the means for reducing family size. A shift toward promoting abortion in developing nations would also increase distrust of the United States in these nations, whose values and culture often reject abortion, at a time when we need their trust and respect.’”