US Govt announces further crackdown on funding for overseas abortions

Mike Pompeo
Secretary Mike Pompeo.

The opposite of what's happening in the UK

The US Government will be taking further steps to ensure that taxpayers' money is not used to fund abortions overseas, it was announced today.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today made two announcements about "the State Department's ongoing efforts to ensure that US tax-payer dollars are not used to subsidise or promote abortions."

The Mexico City Policy

The first related to the Mexico City Policy, which denies US aid to any organisation that promotes, advocates for or gives information on abortion. The policy was first introduced under President Reagan, and has since been rescinded by every Democrat president and reinstated by every Republican incumbent. As Secretary Pompeo noted, President Trump expanded the policy in January 2017, and it "now protects every human life impacted by the nearly 9 billion dollars of foreign aid which we spend on global health programmes each year, and in turn protects more unborn babies around the world than ever before."

Ending backdoor funding schemes

Secretary Pompeo said that he was "proud to serve an administration that protects the least amongst us," and that the vast majority of NGOs comply with the policy and continue to work with US Aid. "This administration has shown that we can continue to meet our critical global health goals, including providing healthcare for women, while refusing to subsidise the killing of unborn babies," he said.

He said he had now directed his team to implement the policy to the "broadest extent possible" and was "announcing further refinements to advance our efforts to protect the least amongst us." The US will now refuse to give to NGOs "who give to other groups in the global abortion industry" and will "enforce a strict prohibition on backdoor funding schemes.

"American taxpayer dollars will not be used to help fund abortions," Secretary Pompeo said.

Stopping pro-abortion advocacy 

The second announcement was that he would be enforcing federal law prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds, including foreign assistance, to lobby for or against abortion. Following evidence that the American Organisation of States (an organisation formed to promote economic, military, and cultural cooperation among the countries of the Americas) had been lobbying in favour of abortion, agreements would be made to expressively prohibit this, and the organisation's funding would be reduced.

The Secretary ended with the assurance that the US Government and its departments "will do all we can to safeguard US taxpayer dollars and protect and respect the sanctity of life for people all around the globe."

Not so in the UK

This push to end all taxpayer funding of abortion overseas is in stark contrast to the UK Government, which gave Marie Stopes International £44 million in 2017, and recently pledged another £200 million for family planning in Africa and Asia. Since then, both Kenya and Niger have taken action against the abortion giant for carrying out illegal abortions. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact last year criticised DFID for focusing on family planning at the expense of maternal health.

Polling has shown that 65% of the UK public oppose funding overseas abortions, but there seems little likelihood of an announcement like the one made today in the US happening here any time soon. However the US decision sends a strong signal to countries around the world which will hopefully contribute to changing attitudes.

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