Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Vatican, described President Barack Obama’s signing of an executive order allowing U.S. tax dollars to fund pro-abortion organizations beyond the shores of the United States saying it is "the arrogance of someone who believes they are right, in signing a decree which will open the door to abortion and thus to the destruction of human life," as quoted by Italian daily Corriere della Sera on January 24.
The outspoken prelate, who also once denounced what he termed as “racism” on the part of instructors at the Academy, added "What is important is to know how to listen... without locking oneself into ideological visions with the arrogance of a person who, having the power, thinks they can decide on life and death."
President Obama signed the executive order on January 23, cancelling the eight-year-old restrictions on the third full day of his presidency. This will allow the US to fund the UN Family Planning agency. Termed a "global gag rule" by the Guttmacher Institute and other abortion advocates, the outgoing Bush Administration had cut off with its so-called Mexico City policy any US funding to overseas organizations which provide any abortion services whatsoever, from the operation itself to counseling, referrals or post-abortion services. "If this is one of the first acts of President Obama, with all due respect, it seems to me that the path towards disappointment will have been very short," Fisichella said.
"I do not believe that those who voted for him took into consideration ethical themes, which were astutely left aside during the election debate. The majority of the American population does not take the same position as the president and his team," he added.
The order won President Obama praise from Democratic lawmakers, family planning and women's rights groups but drew angry condemnation from pro-life organizations, the Catholic Church, and Republicans. Numerous organizations from around the world sent President Obama a letter, thanking him for ending the Mexico policy which in their view has contributed to the deaths and injuries of countless women and girls.