Trump Expands Mexico City Policy, Abortion Groups Keep Some Funding

The Trump administration announced additional restrictions on abortion funding in foreign aid this week, in effect neutralizing U.S. complicity in the proliferation of global abortion.

The State Department announced that effective May 15th, $8.8 billion in global health assistance would fall under Mexico City Policy guidelines, prohibiting most foreign non-government organizations (NGOs) that perform or promote abortion from being eligible to receive U.S. funding.

This humane policy seeks to respect and protect the precious lives of unborn girls and boys from the violence of abortion,” said Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) in a released statement. Smith, the chairman of the subcommittee on Africa and Global Health reiterated that the new policy would retain all global health assistance contrary to the reports of opponents.

President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy shortly after taking office, as did his Republican predecessors. He further directed his Secretary of State to implement a plan to extend pro-life protection to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies. This was due to the increased entanglement of abortion in development assistance funding under the Obama administration which allowed abortion groups to receive grants beyond the $600 million appropriated for international family planning.

That expansion allowed International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) affiliates and Marie Stopes International (MSI) to open clinics throughout Africa where they perform illegal abortions under the guise of post-abortion care and agitate to overturn pro-life laws.

“Contrary to what the abortion giants and their pro-abortion liberal friends are saying, this expanded Mexico City Policy will be welcomed across Africa,” said Obianuju Ekeocha, president of Culture of Life Africa. Ekeocha, who documents illegal abortions in MSI clinics says, “Organizations like MSI and IPPF do not contribute to the building up of African communities.” Ekeocha says she is hopeful this redirection of funding “will channel funds to deserving organizations that work with Africans to promote development and wellbeing while respecting the cultural views and values of the people.”

The new policy does not prohibit all U.S. funding from flowing to international abortion groups, however. A recent study by the Kaiser Foundation reviewed the 64 U.S. aid recipient countries for the potential impact of an expanded Mexico City Policy. The Mexico City Policy exception which allows funding for abortions in cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother means that abortion clinics could retain funding in some 27 countries – 12 of these in Africa.

The new policy rolled out as the second phase of the January 23 executive action is called “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.” The policy extends to HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, family planning and reproductive health administered through the Departments of State and Defense, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). These programs are limited to foreign NGOs only. U.S. registered NGOs operating in foreign countries that promote abortion rights are not subject to the guidelines.

The Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy applies to all new grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts, and to previous funding agreements when amended to add new funding. Restrictions would flow to all sub-grantees requiring signed statements of compliance. Public/private partnerships and multilateral agreements would be exempt. Senior administration officials reported that humanitarian assistance for migration and refugee-assistance and conflict and disaster relief would also be exempt.

This article is courtesy the "Friday Fax" of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM).