The Undiscussed “Swing” Issue in the Foreign Policy Debate 15

Lucinda wept, “El doctor me dijo que yo no podría tener más hijos.”

I translated, “The doctor told her she wasn’t allowed to have any more children.”

It was the seventh time I heard those words that day.

San Felipe del Progresso, 1997 — it was a small pueblo outside of Mexico City, with a population of around 2,000. A team of doctors and nurses were offering free medical attention to poor families, as part of their annual “Helping Hand Medical Mission” during Holy Week. Patients were lined up around the block to visit with one of the doctors. Some of them were just asking for aspirin. Others desperately needed a surgeon.  There were many whose trauma we could not treat.

As I was translating for the doctors, the impact of President Clinton’s repealing Reagan’s “Mexico City Policy” became brutally obvious. I interpreted the same story for several women patients, many of them crying, who had been sterilized against their will after having their second or third child. They came to the mission to see if the doctor could help them with the abdominal pain they experienced ever since the operation some doctor coerced them into having. At least 10 women told me they had this happen to them.

Foreign policy debates focus a lot of attention on assisting citizens in developing countries, by helping those countries to develop, providing their citizens with better opportunities for employment and funds for education. It is a shame that we turn a blind eye on the funds that are funneled into promoting abortion and sterilization, a policy which aims at demoralizing and depleting the poor and underprivileged population, rather than helping it to develop.

The Mexico City Policy is the secret “swing” issue of American foreign policy. It swings in and out of effect with every American president since George H. W. Bush. Ronald Reagen enacted the policy in 1984. Bill Clinton rescinded it in January 1993, immediately after he took office. The first thing George W. Bush did, after his inauguration in January  2001, was to reenact the policy. Subsequently, Obama repealed it right a way, in January 2009.

January 2013: will there be another shift?

If Mitt Romney is elected president, he plans to reinstate Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Policy, which will stop tax payer funds from promoting abortion and sterilization in other countries around the world. If President Obama is reelected, his abortion agenda will continue unfettered for another four years. That’s four more years of America’s promoting and paying for the murder of unborn children and imposing sterilization on poor women throughout the world.


  1. It is so sad that these women are being forcibly coerced to be sterilized and to have abortions. That sickens me to no end. We need to stand up for their human rights. Romney may not be the perfect pro-life candidate but he is much better on the abortion issue than Obama. I am praying that Obama is made a one-term president. God Bless.

  2. How hypocritical that we scorn China for doing these things, then promote it “ourselves” and carry it out without the knowledge or agreement of most people.

  3. From a medical point of view, this makes me sick. It ties in with Fr. Tham’s article of yesterday. It’s one thing to have a government that funds this atrocities; it’s another thing to have the cooperation of healthcare professionals who go against their oath to do no harm. I don’t know where the culture needs to change first – the government who enacts policies and hands over money or the doctors/nurses who coerce and perform these procedures.

    • I believe it’s a vicious circle, Terry. For instance, the Obama administration supports its warped policies on women’s healthcare issues with expert opinion, because it can find experts in the field who agree with their views. In turn the administration supports the ones who promulgate these views in the field and in the classroom. Now that this mentality has become a deeply embedded in our cultural and social mindset, it is nearly impossible to educate people with correct ethical criteria without coming off as narrow-minded, reactionary, and radical.

      We have to oppose it on both ends, that is, as regards public policy and education, in order to reverse the situation.

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This is something that I was not aware of and it is something that we need to know more about. God bless you!

  5. The ultimate political football….with the added tragedy that we’re talking about innocent lives, and not just politics.

    Policy differences are just glorified “more-than-1-way-2-skin-a-cat” stuff, ultimately. And that’s coming from an admitted political junkie.

    But THIS? This is tragic, and should be outside politics.
    I pray for that aspect of our politics to change more than anything else.

    • I can’t but agree with you 100%, JTR. This is the sick reality of the political world we’re in. Human life should never be used as a bartering chip. But it is.

  6. All I can do is “second” all the comments made here. I have to ask myself. “Why do so many people not like God’s little babies anymore?” I wonder if God is asking the same thing, or maybe He is asking, “Why are these people trying to play at being Me?” “Why do they think the matter of life and death are in their hands, when it is not?” Great post and God Bless, SR

    • I can’t even attempt to answer these question, SR. Nonetheless, they still need to be asked. It would certainly make the world a better place if more people would ponder these questions.

      God bless!

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