The president of the United States, Joe Biden, entered a political minefield on Thursday after repealing a rule that hindered abortion, although he is proceeding with caution on this sensitive issue in the country.
The measure is part of a broad package of initiatives by the new Democratic president related to health, as the country faces a strong outbreak of covid – 19 and, like never, grapples with a system of health care that leaves millions of people without coverage.
On the eve of the anti-abortion movement’s annual March for Life, Biden signed a decree Thursday afternoon to abolish the so-called “City of Mexico, “which prohibits international non-profit organizations that advise on abortions from receiving federal funds.
Revoke this Reagan-era rule, named after it was announced at a UN conference on population in the Mexican capital, it is not a surprise: since the presidents r Epublicans enacted it and the Democrats repealed it.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres praised a decision that “strongly reminds women and girls around the world that their rights are important.”
But Biden is expected to go further, ordering a review of his predecessor Donald Trump’s government rules that prevented government-funded family planning clinics in the United States from referring women for abortions. .
Abortion is legal in the United States since a Supreme Court ruling of 1973 that guarantees the “right to choose” of women.
Biden supports that right, but is also a devoted member of the Catholic Church, which strongly opposes voluntary termination of pregnancy.
Pressed last week on the new president’s stance on abortion, in particular on the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits using federal funds to fund abortions, the spokeswoman for The White House Jen Psaki declined to respond directly.
“I will take the opportunity to remind everyone that he is a devout Catholic and someone who attends church regularly,” he told reporters.
– “Neo-colonial politics” –
The right to abortion, supported by the Democratic base of Biden, generates a deep division in US politics, and alienating a part of them could hinder the efforts of Biden to achieve unity for the recovery of the economy and the fight against the coronavirus.
Strongly supported by the US anti-abortion groups, the “Policy of Mexico City” of 1984 aims to foreign NGOs involved in supporting health and family planning in developing countries and whose operations benefit from official financial assistance from the United States.
Within days of taking office in January of 2017, Trump prohibited the extension of US funding to such gr upos whether they support, advise or offer abortions, or if they provide support to other NGOs that support abortion.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, that imposed restrictions on more than 7. 000 millions of dollars in US aid last year, potentially affecting more than 1. 000 foreign NGOs during the Trump administration.
Like every year , as the anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade of January 1973, opponents of voluntary termination of pregnancy plan to make their voices heard on Friday.
The annual March for Life, which Trump attended last year, generally summons tens of thousands of people to Washington. But due to the covid pandemic – 19, this time it will be held mainly ‘online’.
“Channel US tax dollars to abortion groups in the foreigner is an abominable practice that goes against the ‘unity’ that Joe Biden and (Vice President) Kamala Harris promised to promote, “said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List.
Lo The same was the opinion of the leader of the Republican minority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell.
This Thursday, his colleague Lindsey Graham presented a bill to prevent abortions at 20 weeks pregnant, currently legal in the United States.
But numerous defenders of women’s health supported the end of the “Global Gag Rule”, as the “Mexico City Policy” is also known “.
Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, said they were” delighted “that Biden was going to reverse what they called c ruel “neocolonial policy”.
But he said that its effects will not disappear if clear instructions are not given to embassies and federal agencies, he noted.
Herminia Palacio, president of the Guttmacher Institute, pro-abortion, opined that Biden is on the right track, but needs to do more, noting that most of the roughly 850. 000 abortions that are performed each year in The United States is for women of color and modest origins.
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