Abortion restrictions expanded for foreign non-profits receiving US health funds

President Donald Trump speaks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington

In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to defund the International Planned Parenthood abortion business.

The same day that that bill passed, Trump signed an executive order on religious freedom created to roll back insurance coverage for contraceptives more broadly.

Senior administration officials said Monday that a plan to expand the so-called "Mexico City Policy" had gone into effect.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation estimates it will lose $100 million in funding over the course of the next three years as a result of this policy. "This executive order does not cut a single penny from US aid, rather it simply ensures our hard-earned tax dollars are used by other health care entities that act consistently to save lives, rather than promoting and performing abortion". This includes programs for AIDS, Malaria, Measles, cancer care, diabetes, child nutrition - everything except emergency humanitarian relief. It just will not subsidize abortion overseas.

President Trump's administration is reportedly planning to expand the so-called Mexico City policy that bans US funding for abortions overseas. The policy previously applied to a much narrower stream of about $600m in U.S. government funds.

The Trump administration announced that it will cut US funding for foreign health organizations that provide abortion services. In essence, President Trump is taking the pro-life policy to a whole different level. It was last implemented by President George W. Bush and then was repealed by President Barack Obama.


The "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance" policy widens the scope of the Mexico City Policy to block a broader range of foreign aid to non-governmental organizations that promote or support abortion and also mention of abortion in connection with family planning.

The new policy applies to funds provided to foreign non-governmental organisations, but not to aid provided to governments or multi-lateral organisations, the state department said.

But Trump has taken it a step further. As of Monday, however, President Trump expanded the rule to cover global health funding coming from the State Department, USAID, and the Department of Defense as well - affecting almost $9 billion in funding aimed at combating HIV/AIDS, Zika, Malaria, and other health issues around the world. Experts estimated that the rule would apply to about $600 million in USA relief, as it had with past administrations, but the inclusion of the Defense Department raises the stakes-and raises the amount of money the administration is willing to spend in advancing its anti-abortion agenda. The policy applies the anti-abortion rule to $8.8 billion in global health funding furnished by the State Department, USAID and the Department of Defense, instead of only $600 million in family planning funding. Bush had applied the Global Gag Rule only to family planning services and excluded public health programs aimed at preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. The new expanded policy won't apply to humanitarian aid or disaster relief funds from either the Pentagon or the State Department.

Praise for the newly expanded policy came from Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization, whose president Marjorie Dannenfelser called the move "one of the reasons pro-life voters worked to elect Donald Trump to the White House". No government funding goes to worldwide abortion services due to the Helms Amendment of 1973, but Republican leaders have turned to this policy to keep health NGOs from even speaking of abortion when they provide services (which is where the "Global Gag Rule" comes in).

"By modernizing this important policy and expanding it to include $8.8 billion in foreign aid, President Trump is continuing Ronald Reagan's pro-life legacy", she added. Rather than recognizing the utter failure of the policy, this administration has expanded its breadth, threatening global efforts to fight malaria and Ebola and Zika and HIV. "Abortion is not health care".

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