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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump on Monday expanded the Mexico City Policy that bans funding for abortions outside U.S. borders to include a broader range of international aid programs.

The policy applies to approximately $8.8 billion in funds appropriated to the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense. Under previous administrations, the ban was applied on a more limited basis to $60 million in foreign aid programming.

The “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” policy widens the scope of the Mexico City Policy to block a broader range of foreign aid to non-governmental organizations that promote or support abortion and also mention of abortion in connection with family planning.

“The United States remains deeply committed to supporting health programs around the world. Foreign NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] that agree not to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning will remain eligible to receive global health assistance through the standard U.S. Government processes that govern the award of federal funds,” the White House announced in a press release.

In January, President Trump reinstituted the Mexico City Policy, established by President Reagan in 1984, to halt funding for any group providing or promoting abortions, The policy, which was rescinded by President Obama in 2009, stipulates that “U.S. taxpayer money should not be used to support foreign organizations that perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”

The president’s action was praised by pro-life activists.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, tweeted, “We have officially ceased exporting abortion to foreign nations. [President Donald Trump] is continuing Ronald Reagan’s pro-life legacy by ensuring tax dollars don't go to entities that promote & perform abortion.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council said, “President Trump fulfilled another campaign promise as the State Department began implementing the President's January 23 executive order barring U.S. funds from subsidizing foreign groups that perform or promote abortion. 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.”

Lila Rose, Founder of Live Action, commented, “Now that the president has put a stop to our tax dollars subsidizing foreign abortion providers and promoters, it’s time for Congress to finish the job here in the United States and stop the hundreds of millions of tax dollars going to the biggest abortion chain in America, Planned Parenthood. The federal government’s most important duty is to protect human life, so it is unthinkable that our tax dollars fund a corporation that destroys the lives of over 320,000 preborn children each year right here at home.”

Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, earlier this year told LifeSiteNews that by expanding the Mexico City Policy to include all international “health assistance” programs it becomes easier to stop funding of international groups pushing abortion and sterilization, and that the Trump policy will save more lives than past Mexico City Policies.

On January 23, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum “reinstating the 2001 Presidential Memorandum on the ‘Mexico City Policy,’ and directed the Secretary of State to implement a plan to extend, to the extent allowable by law, the ‘Mexico City Policy’ to “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.”

“Secretary Tillerson has approved a plan to implement the manner in which U.S. Government Departments and Agencies will apply the provisions of the “Mexico City Policy” to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. funding for global health assistance.”