March 26, 2019, 11:17AM: This report has been updated to include additional background information and reaction.
WASHINGTON, D.C. March 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration is strengthening the Mexico City Policy to bar taxpayer funds from organizations that support other pro-abortion groups in addition to backing abortion themselves, as well as enforcing an amendment that bars funding of international pro-abortion lobbying efforts, the Secretary of State announced Tuesday morning.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed to reporters that the administration is closing a loophole that permits “backdoor funding schemes” under which foreign aid recipients that don’t commit or promote abortion themselves can still give money to other organizations that do. “American taxpayer dollars will not be used to underwrite abortions,” he declared. “This administration has shown that we can continue to meet our global health goals while refusing to subsidize the killing of unborn babies.”
The administration is also ordering full enforcement of the 1981 Siljander amendment, which bars federal funds from being used to lobby for or against abortion. The first group to be impacted by the amendment is the Organization of American States (OAS) for its pro-abortion lobbying across North and South America via two of its organs: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Inter-American Commission on Women (IACW).
Nine Republican senators wrote to Pompeo last month urging him to make the change, citing IACHR’s support for legalizing abortion in nations such as Argentina, Chile, and El Salvador, for example. Left-wing, pro-abortion organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International, and Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) have opposed cutting funds to IACHR.
“The institutions of the OAS should be focused on addressing crises in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, not advancing the pro-abortion cause,” the Secretary of State said. “And to ensure our message is heard loud and clear, we will reduce our contributions to the OAS. Our reduction equals the estimated US share of possible OAS expenditures on these abortion-related activities.”
“Implementing the Siljander Amendment is massive because it applies to all foreign assistance funds,” Personhood Alliance president Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq., explained to LifeSiteNews. “These NGOs have basically infiltrated and control all of these international organs, and had basically created a US-funded lobby group for abortion with the facade of implementing international law.
“Now, the State Department will have to examine all foreign assistance funding and if any international organizations (not just NGOs, but multilateral bodies like the OAS and the UN) are pushing for the legalization of abortion, they will not be able to receive funds,” Jones continued. “In other words, this is much much broader than the Mexico City Policy, and it is the first time that the Siljander Amendment will have been implemented in 35 years.”
The announcement is the Trump administration’s latest step to improve on the Mexico City Policy (or Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance rule), a rule Republican presidents typically reinstate and Democrat presidents typically drop upon taking office.
Previously it applied to approximately $60 million in foreign aid money, but President Donald Trump expanded it to cover about $8.8 billion in funds appropriated to the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense, and exclude organizations that promote abortions in addition to personally committing them.
“The Trump administration has been the most pro-life administration in history, and Secretary Pompeo and President Trump should be thanked for closing the loopholes that allowed NGOs to take our taxpayer dollars and give them to sub-contractors that commit or promote abortions, Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins responded. “This is an 80-20 issue, and the American people have made it clear they do not want their taxpayer dollars subsidizing abortions. This step will start to rectify the mistakes we made in enshrining abortion into Kenya’s constitution, a grave mistake made by the Obama administration.”
The change will close between 90-95% of the loopholes in the existing Mexico City Policy, Students for Life added.