Trump barring abortion from foreign aid hasn’t hurt women’s health, State Department says
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WASHINGTON, D.C., August 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. State Department has released a report on the impact of President Donald Trump’s actions to prevent foreign aid money from supporting abortions abroad, concluding that his restoration and expansion of the Mexico City Policy has not harmed America’s support for legitimate women’s health services.
Shortly after taking office in 2017, Trump’s Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy not only reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which bars the United States’ $8.8 billion in foreign aid from being distributed to entities that perform abortions, but took the additional step of expanding it to groups that promote or discuss abortion.
The action has been bitterly opposed by Democrats and has resulted in international abortion providers Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes losing millions because they refused to drop abortion in order to qualify for the money. Marie Stopes also had to close hundreds of operations across Africa. Nevertheless, a 2018 State Department review found that most recipients have complied with the new rules without issue.
The department’s latest review finds much the same results. “In total, only eight out of 1,340 prime awardees with awards in place between May 2017 and September 30, 2018, have declined to agree to the Policy, as well as a small portion of sub-awardees,” it says.
“In most cases in which a recipient or sub-recipient declined to agree to the terms of PLGHA, USAID and/or the prime partner successfully transitioned activities to ensure the continuity of global health assistance,” the report continues. “Most declinations connected to USAID did not produce a disruption of health care or significant delays in the provision of services.”
In such cases, the report says, the federal government “has worked to transition activities to new partners as quickly as possible to prevent or resolve instances in which delays or gaps in service could or have occurred.”
“When organizations declined the terms of PLGHA, the transitions to alternative health providers have been, for the most part, smooth,” the report explains. “In some cases, other donors or the host government have stepped in to fill gaps that occurred because of a declination of PLGHA. Only in limited instances has the Agency struggled to identify new partners or sub-awardees with comparable skill sets, networks, or capacity for outreach as those who declined the terms of PLGHA.”
“The U.S. Government is committed to protecting human life before and after birth,” the report declares. “The principles set forth in PLGHA and the significant funding the U.S. Government devotes to global health assistance clearly illustrate these dual priorities.”
House Democrats have recently pushed legislation attempting to get around the policy, which they have derisively dubbed the “Global Gag Rule,” though it cannot take effect as long as Republicans control the Senate and Trump is in the White House. However, it offers a preview of things to come next year should former Vice President Joe Biden, who supports codifying a “right” to abortion in federal law, defeat Trump for the presidency in November.