State Dept. implements expanded 'Mexico City policy'

17 May, 2017, 01:31 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • U.S. President Donald Trump

Trump's plan, named "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance", implements "the manner in which U.S. Government Departments and Agencies will apply the provisions of the Mexico City Policy to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. funding for global health assistance".

"This policy is sure to tragically increase the number of unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and women dying from pregnancy-related complications around the world".

This change in policy makes good on that order, as well as Trump's promise that no taxpayer will be used to support organizations that promote or provide abortions, according to a State Department official.

Despite Trump's claim that the policy would "protect life", research has shown that the policy actually endangers the lives of women and children around the world because it interrupts funding flows, prevents women from receiving information about safe medical options, and restricts their access to contraceptives.

"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", a White House official told Christian Broadcasting Network News.

The policy applies to some $8.8 billion in federal funding given toward global health assistance.

Before, the rule applied to about $600 million in family planning money.

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The Trump administration today released new anti-abortion rules - including a policy name change - that will apply to nearly $9 billion in global health funding, including a massive HIV/AIDS prevention program, the State Department announced on Monday. But Trump's executive order in January extended the prohibition to all government agencies and departments, a huge expansion, but one that still left some room for speculation about just how far-reaching the new gag rule would be.

In this week's press release, the State Department explained that this expanded 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". He added the Department of Defense to the list of agencies whose funding has to adhere to the policy. This means that a clinic receiving USA assistance for HIV or Zika relief will lose all that money if it so much as gives pregnant women information about safe abortion care. The expanded policy also does not apply to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief or to United Nations funds and programmes.

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".

Foreign NGOs that receive US aid will soon have to choose between providing any abortion services, including referrals and counseling, or any global health assistance funding they receive from the U.S. In turn, the women, men, and children in developing nations who rely on these non-profit health care providers for treatment could face serious-if not deadly-health consequences if the organizations lose their funding under Trump's policy.

While similar guidelines have been instituted under every Republican president since Ronald Reagan, under the Trump administration, the policy's scope is much more sweeping.

'President Trump is treating women's lives like political bargaining chips, trading them away to shore up his flagging support, ' said Sasha Bruce, the senior vice president of campaigns and strategy for NARAL Pro-Choice America. The administration has cited the fund's work with the Chinese government, which runs programmes involving coerced abortion and forced sterilisation, as the reason it would fall under the policy. "Right now there's a lot of unknowns, ' she said".

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