A Third Way on Mexico City

February 10th, 2006

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A few weeks ago, some friends from Population Action International asked to meet with me about an international family planning bill that reduces abortion in the developing world through an effective and humane approach. Sound “Third Way”? It is.

First a little background. When he took office, President Bush reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which mandates that no financial U.S. family planning assistance can be provided to foreign NGOs that: perform abortions in cases other than a threat to a woman’s life, rape or incest; provide counseling and referral for abortion; or lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their country. Because of this policy, countless impoverished people in the developing world who need and want modern contraception lack access to it. The Mexico City Policy has exacerbated the already high rates of HIV/AIDS, unintended pregnancies, maternal mortality and morbidity and ironically, abortion.

The “Ensuring Access to Contraceptives Act of 2006” (HR 4736) was introduced this week by pro-choice Representatives Rob Simmons (R-CT) and Dennis Moore (D-KS) and claims progressive pro-life Tim Ryan (D-OH) and James Oberstar (D-MN) among its original co-sponsors. This bill is creative—it gives contraceptive supplies, instead of money, directly to health care facilities in developing countries. Its policies would help avoid countless abortions and lower the devastating HIV/AIDS and maternal mortality and morbidity rates in the developing world. It transcends the traditional politics of abortion and would help countless impoverished women and men in the developing world.

Third Way endorsed the bill because we applaud this elegant and productive type of thinking. Click HERE to read our letter of endorsement.