Trump blocks U.S. aid for even providing abortion information

Nick Mcbride
May 16, 2017

Some developing countries have reason to celebrate after Donald Trump expanded his administration's pro-life policies. "Withholding U.S. aid as a tool to limit anyone's access to health is simply un-American and stands in direct opposition to our country's role as a global leader for democracy and human rights.This is another reckless move by the Trump Administration created to cynically please his extremist base without regard for consequences". Experts estimated that the rule would apply to about $600 million in US relief, as it had with past administrations, but the inclusion of the Defense Department raises the stakes-and raises the amount of money the administration is willing to spend in advancing its anti-abortion agenda. Under the new policy, however, organizations that perform other health-related work and happen to support abortions - for example, a foreign NGO that does sexual health education to prevent the spread of HIV and also informs women that abortion is legal in the country - could see the whole of their United States health funding disappear. The policy won't apply to all funding.

The Reagan-era rule bars USA aid from going to global NGOs that offer abortion services or even provide information about it as an option-even when they use non-U.S. funds to do so.

This means that foreign organizations that focus on malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDs, or even tropical diseases and vaccinations will be subject to the non-abortion standard in order to receive funding, according to Vox.

National Right to Life commended the Trump Administration for expanding the policy to apply "pro-life conditions to a broad range of health-related USA foreign aid".

"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.

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. We applaud the Trump administration for not just stopping the pro-abortion policies of the Obama era, but putting in place policies that will reverse the destructive and immoral trends of the last eight years. "Accordingly, when dealing with nations that support abortion with funds not provided by the United States Government, the United States will contribute to such nations through segregated accounts that can not be used for abortion". At that point, recipient organizations will be required to sign and pledge that they will abide by the new clause or lose USA funds.

Aid to national and local governments will be exempted, as is humanitarian assistance, migration aid and disaster relief.

The announcement marks a significant increase in both the scope and financial implications of the policy which initially impacted less than $600 million in programs specifically for family planning assistance.

The Bush administration excluded programmes that involved HIV/Aids prevention from the rule but Trump did not as he expanded global gag to apply to all global health assistance funds.

President Donald Trump waves as he walks across the south lawn of the White House in Washington.

"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", Dannenfelser added. The expansion will affect almost $9 billion in existing foreign aid - 15 times more funding than it has under previous Republican presidents, according to the reproductive-rights group PAI. This executive order does not cut a single penny from US 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, ' she said.

Other reports by VgToday

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