Dr. Fauci promises repeal of Mexico City Policy

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The Biden administration will repeal the Mexico City Policy in the "coming days," White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told board members of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday, January 21.

"It will be our policy to support women's and girls' sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in the United States, as well as globally," Fauci told an executive board meeting of the World Health Organization on Thursday. 

"To that end, President Biden will be revoking the Mexico City Policy in the coming days, as part of his broader commitment to protect women's health and advance gender equality at home and around the world," Fauci said. 

Fauci is serving as President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor on COVID-19, in addition to his continued role as director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He was attending the WHO board meeting on behalf of the Biden-Harris administration. 

At Thursday's meeting, Fauci confirmed that the United States would not be leaving the World Health Organization. In 2020, the Trump administration began the process of withdrawing from the organization. 

Pro-life groups have criticized WHO for supporting abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Sept., 2020, WHO officials advocated for countries to continue allowing abortions during the pandemic, in statements on "International Safe Abortion Day."

The "Mexico City Policy," referred to by its detractors as the "Global Gag Rule," was first introduced in 1984. It has traditionally barred U.S. family planning assistance from going to foreign NGOs that promote or perform abortions.

The Trump administration expanded the policy to apply to billions of dollars in global health assistance, and has sought to apply it to some government contracts.  In addition, the administration cut funding for the Organization of American States (OAS) in 2019 because of its pro-abortion advocacy.

Typically, one of the first acts of a newly-sworn-in president is to either repeal or reinstate the Mexico City Policy. Democratic presidents have repealed the policy, while Republican presidents beginning with Reagan have introduced it or reinstated it. 

Supporters of the policy have told CNA that it prevents taxpayers from having to support  international groups that promote abortions and abortion ideology in developing countries, even those where abortion is illegal.

On Wednesday evening, White House press secretary Jen Psaki would not give details when asked by EWTN News what Biden plans to do with the Mexico City Policy.

"Well, I think we'll have more to say on the Mexico City Policy in the coming days," Psaki said, before adding that Biden is a "devout Catholic."

The Biden administration is also expected to take a number of other actions rolling back pro-life policies in its first days. Punchbowl News reported on Wednesday that the administration also planned to "disavow" the Geneva Declaration, an international statement of the U.S. and 31 other countries declaring that abortion is not a human right.

Fauci added that the United States will "work constructively with partners to strengthen and importantly reform the WHO, to help lead the collective effort to strengthen the international COVID-19 response and address its secondary impacts on people, communities, and health systems around the world." 

"The United States sees technical collaboration at all levels as a fundamental part of our relationship with WHO, one that we value deeply and will look to strengthen going forward," said Fauci. 

Fauci added that "The Biden Administration also intends to be fully engaged in advancing global health, supporting global health security and the Global Health Security Agenda, and building a healthier future for all people."

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