One of Donald Trump’s first actions as President was to reinstate what is known as the Mexico City Policy. That policy, named for the city where it was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, bars family planning funding from the State Department or the U.S. Agency for International Development to foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortion.
Under President Trump, that policy has been expanded. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has approved a plan that widens the prohibition against funding to foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning to include global health assistance provided by all U.S. departments or agencies. This means that $8.8 billion dollars in funds for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, family planning, and reproductive health are subject to the policy, now called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.
To receive global health assistance funding from the U.S. government, foreign nongovernmental organizations must agree not to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning, or provide financial support to another foreign nongovernmental organization that conducts such activities.
Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance provides exemptions for abortions conducted in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of the life of the woman. It also exempts national and sub-national governments, public international organizations, and other multilateral entities in which sovereign nations participate, as well as humanitarian assistance.
U.S. officials made clear that the policy will have no impact on the total amount of U.S. government funding for global health programs. Departments and agencies will reprogram to other organizations any funding they would have awarded to foreign nongovernmental organizations that do not agree to the terms of Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance. The State Department will undertake a thorough and comprehensive review of the effectiveness and impact of the policy’s application over the next six months.
The United States remains deeply committed to supporting health programs around the world.