Trump administration to cut funds for abortion aid overseas

Trevor Jackson
May 17, 2017

"Previously known within the US government as the Mexico City Policy, Trump's expanded global gag rule has been deceptively re-branded 'Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, '" the group said in a statement.

'Referrals for the termination of a pregnancy in cases or rape, incest or endangerment of the life of the woman are not prohibited under this policy, ' the official said. In 2009, President Barack Obama overturned the policy that provided a portion of over $400 million in federal funds to the abortion organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International for their foreign efforts.

The new policy means that $8.8 billion in USA assistance to an array of programs fighting HIV/AIDS, malaria and maternal and child health will be subject to the so-called Mexico City policy.

The new terms of the ban will reportedly apply to $8.8bn in existing foreign aid provided by the state department, USAid, and the Department of Defense - dwarfing the $60m in programming that previously fell under the ban.

And it was made clear, from that January memorandum, that Trump's order would mark an expansion of the rule, as it directed the Secretary of State "to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies".

"The pro-life policy will apply to global health assistance funding for worldwide health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security and family planning and reproductive health", an unnamed White House source allegedly told the Christian Broadcasting Network, which reported that the State Department would announce the policy Monday.

But one of the briefing officials said the expanded policy will affect neither the amount of funding provided by the USA each year for foreign health programs, nor the continuation of the programs themselves.

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Under the new Mexico City Policy, organizations have to agree not to promote abortion every time they receive a new grant or want to take out money from an old one.

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.

The policy, introduced in 1984, holds that no United States 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-US government sources.

The policy will not apply, however, to all USA funding.

Trump did note that "Ensuring affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare is critical to improving women's health and ensuring that it fits their priorities at any stage of life". Some health-care providers have expressed concern that without referrals for care, more women could seek unsafe abortions; in some parts of the world, women have been known to drink battery acid and use wire coat hangers. That means "funds that would have been destined for programs to combat HIV/AIDS, to promote maternal and child health and to prevent childhood diseases" would be cut off for any organization that gives any information about abortion or supports its legalization.

The Trump administration announced Monday that they would be expanding the Reagan-era Mexico city policy beyond the way it has been habitually implemented by the Bush administrations. "Right now there's a lot of unknowns, ' she said".

Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona told CP that he believes the 45th U.S. President has the "potential to be the Abraham Lincoln of the unborn". The rollout is devastating to women's health and rights activists who focus on access to contraception and medical care, some experts charge.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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