The Brody File has learned that the Trump administration will significantly expand the pro-life Mexico City Policy by drastically increasing the amount of global health assistance funds and government programs that will be covered under the policy. A White House official tells The Brody File that on Monday they’ll announce a policy called, “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” in which $8.8 billion will be appropriated through various federal agencies and departments. In essence, President Trump is taking the pro-life policy to a whole different level. This is much more extensive than when President George W. Bush reinstated it back in 2001. Yet another evangelical victory under this administration. On a myriad of issues, Donald Trump hasn't disappointed evangelicals since he's taken office.
Let’s explain. The Mexico City Policy requires non-governmental organizations to agree not to “perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” President Trump reinstated the policy in January after eight years of it lapsing under President Obama. The order also directs Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to come up with a plan on how to apply the policy to all departments or agencies. The exact language is as follows:
I direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by law, to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.
I further direct the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to 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.
The key line from the memorandum is where it says the secretary of state will be allowed to “extend the requirements of the reinstated memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.”
So that’s why on Monday, the State Department will announce this new plan called “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” in which nearly $9 billion in global health assistance funds will be appropriated to the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. There’s a reason the Department of Defense is in ALL CAPS. That’s because the difference here is that in previous versions of the Mexico City Policy, the funds only applied to family-planning assistance provided by USAID and the Department of State. That was roughly $600 million. Now, it’s much more expansive as the Trump administration applies the policy to a much wider pool of money ($8.8 billion) within federal agency programs and includes Department of Defense programs as well.
A White House official tells me, “The pro-life policy will apply to global health assistance funding for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health.” The policy won’t apply to all funding. Excluded will be humanitarian assistance such as migration and refugee-assistance activities, USAID disaster and humanitarian-relief activities, and U.S. Department of Defense disaster and humanitarian relief.
A White House official says there will be no impact on the total amount of federal funds allocated to health programs around the world. The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that refuse to agree to the pro-life, “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” guidelines will lose out on the money, but the funds will be given to other organizations that do comply. A White House Official makes the following clear: “Foreign NGOs that agree not to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning, or provide financial support to any other foreign non-governmental organization that conducts such activities, will remain eligible for global health assistance funding.”
This is ultimately a winning issue for the Trump administration. A Marist Poll in January showed 83 percent of Americans oppose federal funding of overseas abortions. By the way, that figure included nearly 40 percent of people who supported Clinton in the 2016 election.