LifeSiteNews jumped the gun on Tuesday, informing the pro-life faithful that President Obama would “immediately” reverse the so-called “Mexico City Policy,” which bans federal U.S. dollars to non-governmental organizations that perform abortions or refer women to abortion providers. Kathleen Gilbert, the author of the LifeSiteNews story, tells us that “anonymous” sources confirmed Obama’s decision. Apparently, Gilbert’s shoddy reporting tricked one blogger at Catholics in the Public Square, who determined in the revelatory light of his laptop’s glowing screen that Obama would be “wasting no time” in abrogating former President George W. Bush’s executive enforcment of the policy exactly eight years ago. Just from whence their prescience is derived puzzles me.
Major Garrett of FoxNews may have drawn from the same well of bad information as Gilbert on Wednesday, when he reported that Obama would reverse the Mexico City Policy today, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
NPR typically was a bit more chaste and measured in its coverage, reporting that the Mexio City Policy “could” be reversed today and that such a measure is “likely” but not certain. Bill Clinton reversed the policy on January 22, 1993, which had been upheld by his predecessor George H.W. Bush, so it seemed quite possible that Obama would continue this tradition of back-and-forth presidential politics on abortion, exploiting the symbolism of the Roe v. Wade anniversay. Reports today say this will not be the case.
LifeNews, which provided some of the most ungenerous and polemical coverage of Obama’s campaign for president, reports second-hand that the decision to reverse the Mexico City Policy has been postponed. Yet, without looking at this fact positively, LifeNews dismisses any hope by declaring that the postponement is merely a way of Obama’s’ “attempting to camouflage his pro-abortion agenda by issuing a statement calling for efforts to reduce abortions.” LifeNews derives its story from the Christian Broadcasting Network, which had the following to report:
A source with knowledge of the situation says the fact that Obama will not issue this executive order today (on the same day of the huge March for Life rally in DC) sends a strong signal to religious leaders across the political spectrum that President Obama wants to set a different tone in Washington.
President Reagan first implemented the policy but President Clinton reversed it on this day of January 22, 1993. January 22nd is the annual March for Life rally. President Bush then reversed Clinton’s executive order on this on January 22, 2001.
It is unclear whether Obama intends to reverse the Mexico City Policy at some point in the future but this reliable source tells me that this move signals that Obama will stress the need for reducing abortions in this country rather than focus on the divisive tit for tat policy reversals of the past. As a matter of fact, President Obama may actually release an abortion related statement today about this need to reduce them. The point here is that President Obama has opted out of the “in your face” politics of the past. He may reverse Mexico City Policy at some point. Many on both sides of the abortion debate expect he probably will at some point but today is a day where Obama took the more tactful and less confrontational approach.
Will Obama reverse the Mexico City Policy? Who’s to say right now? It may be reversed tomorrow, next month, or next term. It may not be reversed at all. The best course of action for Catholics, at least, seems not to be the issuance of preemptive news stories or blog posts like those aforementioned, but to maintain stalwart, hoping and praying for real dialogue on the reduction and eventual elimination of abortions in the United States.