Trump expands Global Gag Rule, affecting almost $9 billion in worldwide aid

Posted May 17, 2017

WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump's administration announced the details Monday of the president's unprecedented worldwide anti-abortion policy, which drastically expands the "global gag rule" that past Republican presidents have placed on USA health assistance funds. On a myriad of issues, Donald Trump hasn't disappointed evangelicals since he's taken office.

"Referrals for the termination of a pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of the life of the woman are not prohibited under this policy", the official added. In 2009, President Barack Obama overturned the policy that provided a portion of over $400 million in federal funds to the abortion organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International for their foreign efforts.

Today, Donald Trump is announcing a new policy entitled "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance".

But as the White House official confirmed, Trump's "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance" policy will not only exclude HIV/AIDS prevention programs, it will apply to all global health organizations-many of which provide crucial preventative services and treatments for diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, and the Zika virus.

About $8.8 billion in funding could be impacted, far more than the $600,000 covered under the previous version of the ban. But even some who aren't involved in advocating abortion as a family planning method say they won't sign on.

So that's why on Monday, the State Department will announce this new plan called "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance" in which almost $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. The global gag rule seriously hinders the effectiveness of USA global health investments and the growing global progress that we, as a global community, have made in expanding access to family planning for couples worldwide and in reducing maternal mortality. It will also apply to funding that comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. State Department or even the Department of Defense.

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A White House official said that the amount of health funding around the world will not change, even as the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that do not meet the new criteria will no longer be eligible for aid, notes "The Brody File".

Governments and multilateral organizations remain outside of the scope of the expanded policy, which also will not apply to humanitarian aid provided through refugee or migration programs or to disaster relief. 'The policy...implements what the president has made very clear: "US taxpayer money should not be used to support foreign organizations that perform or actively promote abortions as a method of family planning in other nations, ' a senior administration official said..."

Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona told CP that he believes the 45th U.S. President has the "potential to be the Abraham Lincoln of the unborn".

The GGR was first put in place by President Ronald Reagan and has been rescinded by Democratic presidents only to be reinstated by Republican presidents. The administration has cited the fund's work with the Chinese government, which runs programmes involving coerced abortion and forced sterilisation, as the reason it would fall under the policy.

Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Barbara Lee (D-CA) released a statement in response to the new Trump policy, calling it a "cruel and unprecedented attack on the world's most vulnerable women". "Right now there's a lot of unknowns, ' she said". This deeply unpopular policy only serves to deny women and families life-saving health care. Denying organizations funding just for talking about abortion is a step in the wrong direction, and allocating more money to organizations who do not talk about or provide abortion will only incentivize fewer global health organizations to provide this essential care.