President Donald Trump Expands Executive Order Defunding International Planned Parenthood
The pro-life policy had been in place during the entirety of the Bush administration and Obama rescinded it on his first week in office. Named for a 1984 population conference where President Reagan initially announced it, the Mexico City Policy made it so family planning funds could only go to groups that would agree to not do abortions or lobby foreign nations to overturn their pro-life laws.
Trump restored the Mexico City Policy by executive order to stop taxpayer funding of groups that perform and promote abortions overseas but it does not stop non-abortion international assistance. The order ensures U.S. foreign aid will continue to go to health care and humanitarian relief in the millions of dollars. It just will not subsidize abortion overseas.
Now, CBN News is reporting that the Trump Administration will significantly expand the pro-life Mexico City Policy by drastically increasing the amount of global health assistance funds and government programs that will be covered under the policy.
The administration modernized the policy to cover all foreign health assistance provided by government agencies including the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and the Department of Defense. Previously the policy only covered family planning funds.
CBN reported “A White House official tells The Brody File that on Monday they’ll announce a policy called, “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” in which $8.8 billion will be appropriated through various federal agencies and departments. In essence, President Trump is taking the pro-life policy to a whole different level. This is much more extensive than when President George W. Bush reinstated it back in 2001.”
Let’s explain. The Mexico City Policy requires non-governmental organizations to agree not to “perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” President Trump reinstated the policy in January after eight years of it lapsing under President Obama. The order also directs Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to come up with a plan on how to apply the policy to all departments or agencies. The exact language is as follows:
I direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by law, to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.
I further direct the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.
The key line from the memorandum is where it says the secretary of state will be allowed to “extend the requirements of the reinstated memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.”
So that’s why on Monday, the State Department will announce this new plan called “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” in which nearly $9 billion in global health assistance funds will be appropriated to the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. There’s a reason the Department of Defense is in ALL CAPS. That’s because the difference here is that in previous versions of the Mexico City Policy, the funds only applied to family-planning assistance provided by USAID and the Department of State. That was roughly $600 million. Now, it’s much more expansive as the Trump administration applies the policy to a much wider pool of money ($8.8 billion) within federal agency programs and includes Department of Defense programs as well.
In an email to LifeNews.com, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser praised Trump for expanding the policy.
“Votes in America have international consequences. The Executive Memorandum implemented today is one of the reasons pro-life voters worked to elect Donald Trump to the White House. With the implementation of Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, we have officially ceased exporting abortion to foreign nations. 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,” she said.
Dannenfelser told LifeNews: “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. This executive order does not cut a single penny from U.S. 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. Abortion is not health care.”