Shortly after taking office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order re-instituting the Mexico City policy, also know as the global gag rule, which prevents groups that provide or promote abortion overseas from receiving USA aid money.
The president, on his third day in office, reinstated the policy, which requires non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving federal funding to certify that they are not carrying out or promoting abortion - even using funds from other donors. The officials, who requested anonymity and were not authorized to speak on the record, said the ban would apply to groups working on HIV/AIDS, malaria, maternal and child health, reproductive issues and global health.
"The policy will apply to all new funding agreements (grants, cooperative agreements and contracts) for global health assistance, and to existing agreements when amended to add funding", the State Department said in a statement posted on its website. Developing and donor countries alike are stepping up to prioritize and make tangible headway in closing the gap on access to modern family planning through increased funding and better policies.
"Senior congressional Democrats reacted with dismay Monday to the Trump administration's announcement it will begin expanding the so-called Mexico City policy from just family planning programs to all US global health assistance, with unknown impacts on billions of dollars in USA foreign aid aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS and other diseases..."
"Today, the Trump administration confirmed our worst fears regarding this new, drastically expanded global gag executive order", Shaheen said. He expanded it to include not just family planning assistance but all US global health funding-an unprecedented move that swept up many other critical programs in addition to family planning, including those that address HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and Zika response. The policy also does not apply to funds distributed directly to foreign governments.
"If a mother is coming in for nutrition support or vaccines for her child, she would be coming to the same rural clinic that provides a suite of services to the community", says Loyce Pace of the Global Health Council.
What is not included in the change is funding to foreign governments, multilateral organizations, migration and refugee assistance, and disaster and humanitarian relief from USAID and the Pentagon.
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"This is implementing what the president has made very clear, that no USA taxpayer money should be used to support foreign organizations to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations", the official said.
While similar guidelines have been instituted under every Republican president since Ronald Reagan, under the Trump administration, the policy's scope is much more sweeping. This means that a clinic receiving USA assistance for HIV or Zika relief will lose all that money if it so much as gives pregnant women information about safe abortion care. But other US government support for organizations' overseas health efforts were unaffected.
It appears that under this policy, any organization that even supports a separate group that supports abortion rights or shares information about abortion will no longer be eligible for USA funding.
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While this might be seen as a win for the GOP and evangelical Trump supporters who are interesting in eliminating abortion, it is a terrifying step for US aid around the world. "Right now there's a lot of unknowns, ' she said".
Marie Stopes International, a UK-based organization that provides women with contraception and safe abortion, also pledged not to sign on with the policy.