Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) said his administration would feature population control provisions in order to combat climate change during CNN's climate change town hall on Wednesday night.
An audience member asked Sanders about "educating everyone on the need to curb population growth."
"Good evening. Human population growth has more than doubled in the past 50 years. The planet cannot sustain this growth. I realize this is a poisonous topic for politicians, but it's crucial to face," the audience member asked. "Empowering women and educating everyone on the need to curb population growth seems a reasonable campaign to enact. Would you be courageous enough to discuss this issue and make it a key feature of a plan to address climate catastrophe?"
"The answer is yes," Sanders responded. "And the answer has everything to do with the fact that women in the United States of America, by the way, have a right to control their own bodies and make reproductive decisions."
"And the Mexico City agreement, which denies American aid to those organizations around the world that allow women to have abortions or even get involved in birth control to me is totally absurd," he continued. "So I think especially in poor countries around the world where women do not necessarily want to have large numbers of babies and where they can have the opportunity through birth control to control the number of kids they have, is something I very, very strongly support."
This characterization is misleading as the Mexico City policy specifically refers to abortion, not birth control in general.
The policy, created by the Reagan administration in 1984, forbids foreign non-governmental organizations from using American federal funding to "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning."
Critics of the policy refer to it as the "global gag rule" because it forbids NGOs from providing abortion referrals.
The Washington Examiner's Jay Caruso called attention to the mischaracterization on Twitter:
First of all, Sanders tells a flat-out lie. The Mexico City Policy has nothing to do with birth control and doesn't prevent abortions. It just prevents U.S. tax dollars from paying for them. Also, this lunatic pushes abortion as a means of fighting climate change. pic.twitter.com/osuuxv3NUq
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) September 5, 2019