The U.S. State Department expanded a global gag rule Tuesday that restricts abortion access abroad by cutting funds for foreign nonprofits that support organizations which perform or promote abortion.
“We will refuse to provide assistance to foreign NGOs that give financial support to other foreign groups in the global abortion industry,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Tuesday statement, according to The Associated Press. “We will enforce a strict prohibition on backdoor funding schemes and end runs around our policy. American taxpayer dollars will not be used to underwrite abortions.”
President Donald Trump reinstated the “Global Gag Rule,” otherwise known as the Mexico City Policy, in 2017 upon taking office. The policy prohibits overseas organizations receiving U.S. aid from promoting or advertising abortion. Former President Ronald Reagan first established the Global Gag Rule in 1984. Trump reestablished the policy after former president Barack Obama rescinded the policy in 2009.
The U.S. will not provide aid to groups that do not themselves violate the Mexico City Policy, but provide support to foreign abortion organizations, under the new policy.
Pompeo promised Tuesday to double down on the policy’s enforcement “to the broadest extent possible,” The AP reported.
Pompeo also promised to cut funds going to the Organization of American States over alleged abortion lobbying in the Western Hemisphere, according to The AP.
“This administration’s obsession with attacking women’s reproductive health is egregious and dangerous,” Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jean Shaheen said, according to The AP. “Further expanding the global gag rule puts international organizations in an impossible position: provide women the full scope of reproductive health care services or deny critical funding that saves lives. That is unconscionable,” Shaheen added.
Four international organizations have have refused to accept the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, according to the Trump administration. Abortion organizations, Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International, are among the list of decliners.
Pro-life groups applauded the move. “The Trump administration has been the most pro-life administration in history, and Secretary Pompeo and President Trump should be thanked for closing the loopholes that allowed NGOs to take our taxpayer dollars and give them to sub-contractors that commit or promote abortions,” Students For Life President Kristan Hawkins said in a Tuesday statement. “This is an 80-20 issue, and the American people have made it clear they do not want their taxpayer dollars subsidizing abortions,” Hawkins added.
“We are excited to see Secretary Pompeo taking additional steps to ensure that Americans’ hard-earned dollars are actually used for health assistance, not funneled to groups that push abortion,” The Susan B. Anthony Fund also said in a statement, according to The AP.
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