Trump administration expands pro-life Mexico City Policy

By Matt Hadro

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Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH, July 18-21, 2016. Credit: Addie Mena / CNA.

The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would begin implementing an expanded Mexico City Policy, which pro-life leaders hailed as a key step to curtailing abortion funding.

The expansion means that more forms of foreign funding will be directed to go to organizations that do not perform or support abortions overseas.

“With the implementation of Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, we have officially ceased exporting abortion to foreign nations,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, praised the announcement on Monday.

Back in January, President Donald Trump reinstated the “Mexico City Policy” which prohibits U.S. funding of non-government organizations that perform or promote abortions, through family planning funds.

The repeal or reinstatement of that policy is typically one of the first actions a new president takes once in office, and is usually a sign of their support for abortion or for the pro-life cause during their presidential term.

The policy was begun by Ronald Reagan in 1984, repealed by Bill Clinton in 1993, reinstated by George W. Bush in 2001, repealed by Barack Obama in 2009, and again reinstated by President Trump in January, on the same week that Vice President Mike Pence addressed the March for Life in person.

However, Trump also instructed the Secretary of State to expand the Mexico City Policy. Now, Secretary Rex Tillerson has released the plan to put this expansion into action. Entitled “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” the plan extends the ban on funding of abortion supporters to other forms of foreign aid like global health assistance.

In a press release, the State Department explained that this ban on funding of abortion supporters would apply to “international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health.”

All in all, $8.8 billion in foreign aid would be covered under the expanded policy, the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List said.

However, some funding would not be affected by the stipulations, the State Department said.

Funding not affected by the policy change would include “global health assistance to national or local governments, public international organizations, and other similar multilateral entities,” along with “humanitarian assistance, including State Department migration and refugee-assistance activities, USAID disaster and humanitarian-relief activities, and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) disaster and humanitarian relief.”

The overall amount of foreign aid would not be cut under the policy, the State Department insisted, and “funding previously obligated will not be affected as a result of this policy.”

“The United States remains deeply committed to supporting health programs around the world,” the agency stated.

Pro-life leaders applauded the Trump administration for expanding the Mexico City Policy.

“This humane policy seeks to respect and protect the precious lives of unborn girls and boys from the violence of abortion,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said.

The policy change “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,” Dannenfelser said. “Abortion is not health care.”

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