Catholic World News

US prelate, Vatican officials criticize Mexico City Policy reversal; President says debate divisive, ‘fruitless’

January 26, 2009

Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the US bishops' committee on pro-life activities, issued a statement on Friday criticizing President Barack Obama’s decision to reverse the Mexico City Policy. “It is very disappointing that President Obama has reversed the Mexico City Policy, which prevents US funding of organizations that perform and promote abortion as a family planning method in developing nations,” Cardinal Rigali said. “An Administration that wants to reduce abortions should not divert US funds to groups that promote abortions.” President Barack Obama on Saturday issued a statement criticizing debate on the policy as divisive and fruitless. “For too long, international family planning assistance has been used as a political wedge issue, the subject of a back and forth debate that has served only to divide us. I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate,” he said. “It is time that we end the politicization of this issue.”

In Rome, L'Osservatore Romano carried a headline story that called Obama's move "very disappointing." Bishops Salvatore Fisichella and Elio Sgreccia-- the president and former president, respectively, of the Pontifical Academy for Life--also criticized the decision. "Of all the good things he could have done," Bishop Sgreccia said, referring to Obama, "he has chosen the worst."


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