Christian conservative leaders and pro-life activists strongly denounced President Barack Obama's repeal of the U.S. policy banning the federal funding of international organizations that provide or promote abortions.
"President Barack Obama promised that he would govern from the center if elected President, but his signing of an Executive Order overturning the Mexico City policy shows that he is committed to spreading abortion around the world," criticized Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition.
"This is hardly governing from the center on the sanctity of human life," she said.
Instituted by former President Ronald Reagan in 1984 at the U.N. International Conference on Population in Mexico City, the Mexico City policy requires that all international groups receiving U.S. funds agree to "neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations."
Since Reagan's administration, the policy has been twice repealed, first by former President Bill Clinton and by Obama last Friday. The policy had been immediately reinstated when former President George W. Bush came into office in 2001.
Last week's move by Obama drew fire from a number of conservative groups, including Family Research Council, the Susan B. Anthony List, Wisconsin Right for Life, Concerned Women for America, and Priests for Life.
"Thanks to his (President Obama's) actions today, U.S. taxpayers will be forced to take part in exporting a culture of death," said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, in a statement.
"We have a responsibility to respect the policies and traditions of the other countries, which have laws recognizing the right to life of the unborn, and it is an insult to fund organizations that are intent on overturning those laws by promoting an elite ideology of abortion on demand," he added.
Despite the strong statements, most were not surprised by Obama's rescinding of the Mexico City Policy, including Father Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International.
"We are disgusted, but we are not surprised," he said.
"President Obama knows that this is shameful, but he needs to placate those who got him into office," Euteneuer added.
Obama was also criticized for signing the executive order one day after more than 200,000 pro-life activists filled the nation's capital in protest of Roe v. Wade, the controversial Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.