Trump administration to cut funds for abortion aid overseas

President Donald Trump speaks during the 36th annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service Monday

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 clinic may also be providing abortion referrals or abortion counseling with non-US funds".

In conjunction with the expansion, the State Department will be conducting a six month review of the impact of the policy's application by "identifying implementation issues" and will give special attention to newly affected programs, including President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President's Malaria Initiative. This differs from the version of the policy as it existed under the last Republican president, George W. Bush. There's a reason the Department of Defense is in ALL CAPS.

The new policy, named "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance", has some exclusions: It applies to funding for NGOs, not to foreign governments or worldwide organizations; it does not apply to humanitarian assistance, including refugee assistance and disaster relief. Trump has said taxpayer dollars should not be used for this goal.

However, the anti-abortion policy was not well-received by everyone. Past versions of the ban specifically targeted global family planning groups.

Suzanne Ehlers, president of Washington-based Population Action International which lobbies in the USA and developing countries for women's reproductive health, said in a statement that the change would "cause unspeakable damage to integrated care efforts across all health sectors". But when the President makes a concerted effort to limit not only reproductive freedoms but access to basic preventable care for some of the most vulnerable women in the world, it directly contradicts everything he and his administration are claiming to support.

NGOs that refuse to accept the pro-life policy of the United States will not receive funds, but those funds will be given to other organizations that comply.

Typically, the Mexico City Policy has only impacted funds specifically earmarked for family planning programs.




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".

The Trump Administration's shameful announcement comes at the beginning of National Women's Health Week, a week aimed at encouraging women to prioritize their health. In addition, humanitarian assistance will be exempt, and there will be a mechanism in place for other exemptions on a case-by-case basis.

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. 'This is a much bigger expansion.

Among the largest groups to face defunding is the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which operates in more than 150 different countries. USA funding accounted for half of the clinic's budget, and also supported a UNFPA survivor's center in Duhok, Iraq, that supports women who have been imprisoned, raped, and abused by members of ISIS. The UN agency has characterised this argument as "erroneous". By the year 2020, the group states as a goal on its website, 90 percent of all women who access abortion and post-abortion services in their centers will also receive a modern method of contraception. If researchers testing new vaccines for things like Zika or Tuberculosis are working in hospitals that also provide abortion counseling or services, their funding could be imperiled.

On Monday (local time), both supporters and critics of the policy came out in full force.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, tweeted, "We have officially ceased exporting abortion to foreign nations".

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