Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) called for Congress to make President Donald Trump’s modified Mexico City policy into law in order to “protect the unborn,” according to a press release.
The executive action, “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” is an adaptation of the Mexico City policy, which states the U.S. will not contribute to foreign nongovernmental organizations “which perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning,” even if the organizations are using non-U.S. funds for those actions. This policy is also referred to as the “Global Gag Rule” by opponents.
“I commend President Trump for detailing how we will implement his ‘Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance’ executive order, one of the several bold steps President Trump has already taken to protect life in foreign assistance,” Lee said in the press release.
The Mexico City policy was first established in 1984 by the Reagan administration and has been rescinded and reinstated by different presidential administrations over the past 32 years.
Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy on Jan. 23, 2017 and directed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to create a plan to extend the policy to “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies,” according to a Presidential Memorandum. This means foreign nongovernmental organizations that do not follow the requirements outlined in the Mexico City Policy will lose not only U.S. government global family planning assistance, but also any other U.S. global health assistance.
Tillerson has since approved a plan called “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” to implement Trump’s provisions.
“Under this expanded policy, ‘global health assistance’ includes 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 U.S. Department of State said in a press release.
The press release also said global health assistance to national or local governments, public international organizations and humanitarian and disaster assistance are not subject to this policy.
Many have raised their voices in protest since the reinstatement of the policy. Planned Parenthood said in a press release the policy takes necessary lifesaving care from women and communities internationally.
“This policy is sure to tragically increase the number of unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and women dying from pregnancy-related complications around the world. It will also increase infant and child deaths globally,” Planned Parenthood Global executive director Latanya Mapp Frett said in the press release.
Advocates for the policy said U.S. citizens shouldn’t be forced to fund practices objectionable to them.
“Our view would be it’s much like our desire in our own country that taxpayers not be forced to fund something that we find morally wrong,” said Mary Taylor, President of Pro Life Utah.