Bishop Again Voices Concern Regarding Sen. Casey’s Mexico City Policy Vote
Most Rev. Joseph F. Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D.
Bishop of Scranton
February 26, 2009
following letter has been sent to Sen. Bob Casey:
Dear Senator Casey,
It is a matter of deep concern that your recent vote against the Mexico City
Policy is continually misrepresented by your staff as a pro-life vote intended
to promote “contraception and other family planning that avoid unintended
pregnancies” (Times-Tribune, February 6, 2009).
The Mexico City Policy is, first and foremost, about abortion, not about
family planning. First put in place in 1984, the policy required all
non-governmental organizations that receive federal funding to refrain from
performing or promoting abortion services abroad. The policy required such
organizations to agree as a condition for receiving U.S. foreign aid dollars
that they would “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of
family planning in other nations.” The policy included exceptions for abortions
done in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening conditions.
Furthermore, the Mexico City Policy did not take funds away from family
planning; its effect is quite the opposite. Tom McCluskey of the Family Research
Council reported the following: “. . .The Mexico City policy halts U.S. family
planning funds from going to foreign . . . [NGOs] that perform abortions or
‘actively promote’ abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. .
. The effect of President Obama rescinding the Mexico City Policy is that now
millions ($461 million in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008) of
dollars are taken away from family planning groups that do not promote
abortions, and delivered into the hands of organizations that are the most
militant in promoting abortion as a population-control method—especially in
countries that find abortion objectionable on moral grounds” (my emphasis).
Contrary to the claims of your staff, the absence of “Mexico City” regulations
insures (1) that money is taken away from family planning, (2) that abortion is
promoted as a method of family planning, and (3) that countries that have moral
and cultural objections to abortion are encouraged to abandon their policies
Finally, it is never permissible to use immoral means such as artificial
contraception to achieve a good end, namely, the reduction of unplanned
pregnancies. In fact, the mistaken view that artificial contraception may be
used to regulate population growth and the size of families has led to countless
evils in America and abroad, including the attitude that having and raising
children is a burden to be avoided. This attitude has contributed mightily to
the acceptability of abortion as a means of contraception both at home and
My letter of January 30 urging you to rescind your vote on the Mexico City
Policy was in no way mistaken regarding the nature and the effect of President
Obama’s order to rescind America’s long-standing policy to avoid using U.S. tax
dollars to support organizations that promote abortion abroad. It is imperative
that this fact be made known to the public.
It is also imperative that there be utter clarity when it comes to the
teaching of the Church on matters that pertain to the taking of innocent life
and the special responsibilities that fall to you, Senator, as a lawmaker to
oppose abortion and other clear evils.
In closing, I refer you to the words of Cardinal Francis George, president of
the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to President Obama urging him to retain
the Mexico City Policy.
The Mexico City Policy . . . 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 (January 23, 2009).
Most Reverend Joseph F. Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D.
Bishop of Scranton
NOTICE: Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion (Diocese of Scranton)