Trump Administration Expands Pro-Life Mexico City Policy

Posted May 17, 2017

The Trump administration is expanding a policy that requires foreign non-governmental organizations to neither perform nor promote abortion as a method of family planning, if they receive USA global health assistance funding.

On May 14th, President Donald Trump issued a statement in honor of National Women's Health Week, pledging to "recognize the importance of providing women access to the best, evidence-based health information and care".

"This humane policy seeks to respect and protect the precious lives of unborn girls and boys from the violence of abortion", said Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey.

In 2016, the organization used the USA funding (which is about 7 percent of its budget) to provide contraceptive access to 800,000 people around the world, and prevented an estimated 100,000 unsafe abortions and 10,000 maternal deaths, according to the International Women's Health Coalition. The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that refuse to agree to the pro-life, "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance" guidelines will lose out on the money, but the funds will be given to other organizations that do comply.

But as the White House official confirmed, Trump's "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance" policy will not only exclude HIV/AIDS prevention programs, it will apply to all global health organizations-many of which provide crucial preventative services and treatments for diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, and the Zika virus.

The State Department could not give specifics on how numerous partners in programs such as PEPFAR, which comprises $6 billion of the affected funding, it anticipated refusing to sign on to the new terms. Those past actions were limited to about $600 million in family planning funding.

The Trump administration has reinstated the rule from the George W Bush administration, which prevents any foreign organisation receiving U.S. funds from providing abortion services.

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The policy applied previously only "to family planning assistance provided by USAID and the Department of State".

CBN News reported that the money will come from the US State Department, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Defence Department.

Governments and multilateral organizations remain outside of the scope of the expanded policy, which also will not apply to humanitarian aid provided through refugee or migration programs or to disaster relief. But other USA government support for organizations' overseas health efforts were unaffected. Thus, an worldwide organization that works to prevent the spread of HIV would no longer be eligible to receive US funding because it also has a part of their organization that counsels women who were raped and may be seeking an abortion. "No longer will we undermine the pro-life laws and cultural commitments of other countries by funding organizations like Marie Stopes International that obsessively promote and perform abortion".

The Mexico City policy, first announced in 1984 by the Reagan administration, has been rescinded and reinstated by successive Democratic and Republican administrations since then.

The policy, introduced in 1984, holds that no USA government funding for family planning services can be given to foreign clinics or groups that offer abortion services or discuss abortion, even if the funds for those activities come from non-U.S. government sources.

"It's important to note that we're not talking about decreasing any of the programmatic funding to any of these elements", the official said, but added that there may be "a different provider" in some instances.

"Whether through willful ignorance or an utter disregard for the lives of the world's most vulnerable women, the Trump administration continues to trample on progress without even the semblance of strategy", Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President said in a statement Monday. "Right now there's a lot of unknowns, ' she said".