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Ethics & Religion
Column #1,864
May 18, 2017
Trump Eliminates U.S. Abortion Funding Abroad
By Mike McManus


America has "ceased exporting abortion to foreign nations," declared Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political action committee. She said this was "one of the reasons pro-life voters worked to elect Donald Trump to the White House."

President Trump had the State Department release an expanded policy, "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Initiatives," which bans foreign aid to international health care providers who provide abortion or advocate for abortion rights.

Trump announced this week, "I direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization."

Republican presidents have followed Ronald Reagan's leadership on this issue, who announced his ban of federal funding of abortion in Mexico City in 1984. However, each time a Democratic President was elected, the Mexico City Policy was eliminated.

This time, however, the ban goes far beyond the $600 million of health funds managed by the State Department. The new ban will include $8.8 billion in existing foreign aid by State plus the Department of Defense, U.S. Agency for International Development, Health and Human Services funding for maternal and child health, family planning and efforts to fight HIV and AIDS begun during George W. Bush's Administration.

It is called "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance." In January a Marist Poll reported that 83% of Americans - including 40% of those who voted for Hillary Clinton last November - oppose federal funding of abortion overseas.

Evangelist Alveda King, daughter of Martin Luther King, rejoiced: "Finally our tax dollars are being redirected from death care to health care. Friends, President Trump is not robbing the poor. He is saving lives.

"Remember, abortion is not health care. Abortion kills babies and sometimes, mothers.
Abortion is a violent and deceptive act. I know. I survived two abortions and a miscarriage. My babies didn't," sadly stated Ms. King.

She praised his expansion of the Mexico City Policy from $600 million to $8.8 billion. "That's almost 15 times more money flowing through the abortion ban than previous policies. Yes, cutting deaths by abortion while saving lives."

Critics of the Mexico City Policy have dubbed it the "Global Gag Rule," and argue that it will force organizations to choose between providing health care services and performing abortions.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat, said Trump's "dangerous obsession with rolling back reproductive rights" will have "severe consequences for millions of vulnerable women and children."

"Today the Trump Administration confirmed our worst fears regarding this new drastically expanded global gag executive order. This administration's pathetic rebranding of this policy is a thinly veiled attempt to hide the tremendous harm it has around the world."

However, the National Right to Life Committee commended the Trump Administration for announcing an expanded program. Carol Tobias, its president, said, "Under the Obama Administration, the U.S. foreign aid program was hijacked to promote abortion worldwide. We commend President Trump and his appointees for taking steps to ensure that U.S. taxpayer funds are directed through organizations that work to preserve human life."

Organizations eligible for foreign aid must sign a contract promising not to perform abortions (except to save the mother's life, or in cases of rape or incest). They must also pledge not to lobby to change abortion laws or to promote abortion as a method of family planning.

It should be noted that the Administration's pro-life policy will not result in any reduction of spending in various foreign aid programs. When an organization decides to refuse funds, generally because it has an ideological commitment to promoting abortion - the declined funds are re-directed to compliant organizations.

This writer has often been a critic of Donald Trump, but I am happy today to give him a pat on the back for his pro-life leadership.
Copyright (c) 2017 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. For previous columns go to Hit Search for any topic.


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