WASHINGTON, D.C., January 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Eighteen U.S. senators and 41 representatives have proposed to the State Department’s Secretary Mike Pompeo a plan to close a loophole in current American foreign policy that allows U.S. abortion organizations to receive taxpayer dollars.
In a letter to Pompeo on the eve of the 2020 March for Life, the members of Congress outlined a proposal to strengthen the Mexico City Policy, which is now called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance. The current policy bans global health assistance dollars to foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that commit or promote abortions.
One of President Donald Trump’s first actions when he took office was to reinstate and strengthen the Mexico City Policy.
The members of Congress are asking Pompeo to expand Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance to close a loophole in that policy: currently, NGOs that are incorporated in the U.S. may commit and promote abortions abroad. The only pro-abortion NGOs banned from receiving foreign aid are international ones.
American NGOs would have to certify that they don’t commit abortions — using any funding source — or promote abortions within federally funded programs, including via counseling or referrals, in order to receive U.S. taxdollars for overseas projects. Their federally funded programs would also have to be physically and financially separated from abortion activities, similar to how health providers receiving Title X federal family planning funds must be domestically, thanks to a rule enacted by the Trump administration.
According to the letter, in fiscal year 2018, U.S. taxpayers gave $123.2 million to Population Services International, which works to “supply medications and train providers to give women safe, comprehensive medical abortion care [sic].” Pathfinder International, which collaborates with governments “to ensure quality comprehensive abortion services,” received $85.7 million; $52.2 went to PATH, which promotes abortion in Nepal.
The pro-abortion Population Council received $15.8 million. Ten point three million dollars went to Engender Health, which works to ensure that “women and girls” have “access” to “[a]ge- and context-specific sexual and reproductive health-related decision-making power inclusive of use of contraception, having children, going for an abortion.” Engender Health has been working to advance abortion in Ethiopia, according to the letter.
Womancare Global International manufactures a device called the Manual Vacuum Aspirator, which is used to suck babies from their mothers’ bodies during abortions. The organization received $2.2 million.
“Currently, nothing prevents these and other U.S. NGOs from integrating abortion-related activities into taxpayer-funded global health programs,” the letter explained.
“President Trump and Secretary Pompeo have already demonstrated their willingness to step up to the plate in defense of innocent life here at home with protections put in place for Title X funding,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). “We encourage the administration to hold domestic NGOs to the same standard in foreign assistance they are held to in Title X funding. Domestic NGOs should have to maintain physical and financial separation from abortion-related activities within federally funded programs.”
“As it stands, the United States is the largest provider of global health funding, and it’s imperative that federal funds for health care are used to preserve and protect the sanctity of human life,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) said.
“Our position is clear: domestic NGOs must adhere to the same accountability measures outlined in Title X as they would if they received federal foreign assistance,” Foxx explained. “If they choose to actively subvert these rules and engage in activities that support the termination of human life, their eligibility for taxpayer dollars should be forfeited.”
Notably, among the signers was Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to the U.S. Senate when Sen. Johnny Isakson retired. Pro-lifers had initially raised concerns about her connections to the abortion industry: she sits on the board of the hospital system that is associated with Georgia’s largest abortionist training program and co-owns a WNBA team that donated to Planned Parenthood.
Upon her acceptance of the appointment, Loeffler said she supports Georgia’s heartbeat bill and is “unapologetically pro-life.”