WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — The abortion debate continued in Congress Thursday as President Joe Biden signed an executive order to reverse two Trump-era rules that limit access to the procedure.
“To undo the damage Trump has done,” Biden said at the signing in the Oval Office.
Democrats applauded President Biden’s directive, but it prompted Republicans to reintroduce a slew of proposed restrictions on abortion and the dollars that fund it.
“I was appalled by this decision,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-MS.
Wicker focused on President Biden’s reversal of the so-called Mexico City Policy, a ban on U.S. government funding for foreign nonprofits that perform or promote abortions.
“This decision showed a disregard, to me, for the consciences of millions of American taxpayers who are pro-life,” Wicker said.
Republicans have argued the rule would reduce the number of abortions, but a Lancet Global Health study found the opposite effect, with the related decreased funding for contraceptives increasing unwanted pregnancies.
Wicker wants the restricted aid policy written in to law to eliminate the back and forth that results from which party sits in the White House.
“Enshrining the Mexico City Policy in statute,” Wicker said.
But recognizing that would be a tough sell, Wicker focused instead on making the Hyde Amendment permanent.
“Of all the abortion-related bills that reach the Senate floor, this one should be the least controversial,” he said.
The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal dollars from funding abortions in the U.S. and has passed annually for more than 40 years.
“It has stood the test of time,” Wicker said.
But some Democrats are now saying it’s time to end it.
President Biden’s order also asks the Department of Health and Human Services to review a Trump-era rule that blocked federally-funded Title X providers from referring patients for abortions.
This debate also comes on the heels of Friday’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., which will be mostly virtual this year.