Immediately after President Barack Obama signed the executive order reversing the Mexico City policy, at what was described as "a private act in his office," Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities described the decision as "very disappointing."
"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," the statement said.
Cardinal Rigali recalled in his statement what Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote to then President-elect Obama last week urging him to retain the policy: "'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.'"