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Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

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State Department resists Trump’s efforts to crack down on US-funded foreign abortions

Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

October 15, 2018 (C-Fam) – Career employees of the State Department are fiercely resisting attempts of Trump administration officials to close loopholes in the President's revamped and expanded Mexico City Policy.

The left-leaning journal Foreign Policy recently published a series of articles attacking Trump appointees in the State Department for taking steps to bring more international funding streams in line with the President's overseas pro-life policy.

State Department bureaucrats leaked information about Trump officials applying pro-life earmarks to U.S. funding for UN agencies to be consistent with the conditions outlined in President Trump's Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) executive policy.

The renewed policy closed loopholes in the Bush administration policy but left others open.

Since Bush left the White House, International Planned Parenthood Federation integrated family planning and abortion service delivery with HIV treatment to tap into new funding streams. Over $6 billion is appropriated annually by Congress for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention compared to roughly $600 million for international family planning. By expanding the policy to all global health assistance, the Trump administration has shut down the avenue of HIV/AIDS funding to the abortion giant.

But Trump's pro-life policy does not cover U.S. humanitarian assistance, multilateral organizations, and contracts that pre-existed the Trump administration.

International Planned Parenthood Federation is a partner and implementing organization for UN agency programs with UNICEF, UN Women, and UNAIDs, to which the U.S. is a significant contributor. And the UN agencies themselves routinely promote abortion, openly challenging U.S. congressional and executive funding restrictions on abortion-related activities.

Trump administration officials are earmarking U.S. contributions to UN agencies to prevent the use of U.S. funds to promote and perform abortions through UN agencies and their partners.

But the most significant loophole in the Trump administration's pro-life international policy remains.

Abortion groups can still receive funding so long as they don't perform or promote "abortion as a method of family planning." This only takes exception to abortion for birth spacing according to the contract international non-governmental organizations sign with the U.S. government. It does not prohibit abortions "performed if the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or abortions performed following rape or incest."

This loophole is wide enough that only four organizations out of more than 733 candidates to receive U.S. global health assistance opted out of the policy, according to a first review this year. Many abortion groups continue to receive U.S. funds, including Population Services International, a long-time advocate, and provider of "safe abortion."

The Washington Post reports that in just over 60 countries that receive U.S. global health assistance the impact of the policy "could be minimal."

Of 64 U.S. global health assistance recipient countries, 27 have restrictive abortion laws consistent with the exceptions allowed under the Mexico City Policy, according to a Kaiser Foundation report. Abortion industry giants Marie Stopes International and International Planned Parenthood Federation might have been eligible to keep U.S. funding in these countries. They forfeited it to continue to advocate abortion-on-demand as a human right and found alternate sources of funding from European governments to do so.

Even though the U.S. policy has had minimal effect on abortion funding overseas, the European countries and high-ranking personnel still raise hundreds of millions to replace it through the She Decides campaign.

Published with permission from C-Fam.

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