A review of President Trump’s expanded Mexico City policy reveals that the U.S. has maintained global health assistance to 98 percent of the overseas healthcare organizations that received funding prior to the policy’s implementation. Two notable exceptions were abortion providers that declined U.S. financial assistance.
Released Aug. 18 by the U.S. Departments of State, Defense and Health and Human Services and the U.S. Aid Agency for International Development (USAID) the review concluded that the U.S. continues to fund life-affirming health care including before, during, and after pregnancy and childbirth.
This is critically important as the U.S. is the world’s largest health donor with total global health funding for this year of $11.2 billion.
In a Presidential Memorandum issued on Jan. 23, 2017, newly inaugurated President Trump re-established and expanded the pro-life policy previously known as the Mexico City Policy that prohibits U.S. funds to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning
Renamed the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy, it is typically described by abortion advocates as the “global gag rule” and its purpose “is to prevent American taxpayers from subsidizing abortion through global health assistance provided for populations in need.”
The fact that implementing the policy has not changed USAID’s global health assistance funding levels by even one dollar is clearly outlined in the review. Only eight organizations among 1,340 grant recipients refused the money. Two of them were the global abortion industry giants International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International. These groups no longer receive U.S. funding, having refused to stop aborting unborn children around the world and promoting the destruction of these children.
IPPF says it has so far lost $100 million in U.S. funding as a result of the PLGHA policy. A number of sub-grantees, many of which are affiliates of IPPF and Marie Stopes operating in Sub-Saharan Africa, also declined to accept the terms of the policy, deciding that providing and promoting abortion was more important than receiving U.S. financial assistance.
A key finding of the review is that health care delivery continues to be “robust and responsive.”
“The vast majority of foreign NGOs that received global health assistance from USAID have accepted the terms of PLGHA in their awards and sub-awards, the report noted. “USAID found that the majority of all awards affected by declinations did not experience a disruption in the delivery of health care or significant delays in implementation.”
Much of the news coverage of the USAID review paints an incomplete picture by focusing only on the small percentage of non-governmental organizations that have decided to decline U.S. funding and the care vulnerable populations are not receiving as a result. But 1,332 organizations have accepted the new policy and certainly there are some success stories that might be shared from those groups. That would give credit to a Trump policy, and that’s something we’ve rarely seen in prime time for the entirety of the president’s term in office.
And while it’s certainly regrettable that the decisions of the few organizations unwilling to accept aid lead to under-served people missing out on vital, life-sustaining healthcare, it is not the policy that’s at fault. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Marie Stopes, Planned Parenthood and their partners that believe abortion is more important than treating patients with AIDS and other diseases.
Governments and organizations around the world are learning that the U.S. under President Trump is seriously committed to protecting all lives, including the lives of children in the womb. PLGHA reveals the dual priority of the U.S. government in its global health assistance—the protection of life both before and after birth.
President Trump’s words to the world delivered to the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2019 make the goals of the policy explicit: “Americans will also never tire of defending innocent life…we in America believe that every child — born and unborn — is a sacred gift from God.”