Friday, June 15, 2018
Billy Long: Mexico City policy protects the unborn
On January 23, 2017, just three days after being sworn into office, President Trump issued a presidential memorandum that reinstated the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy, also known as the Mexico City Policy. This presidential memorandum, which was established by President Reagan in 1984 at a United Nations conference in Mexico City, Mexico, restricts all U.S. foreign aid to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform abortions.
Since the controversial Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, pro-life members in Congress have worked tirelessly to protect the rights of the unborn both domestically and abroad. Legislation, such as the Helms Amendment, which prevents U.S. money from funding abortions or services that promote abortions, was passed as part of the Foreign Assistance Act in 1973. Other legislation includes the Biden Amendment, which prohibits U.S. funds from supporting biomedical research related to abortion, and the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which withholds funds from organizations that a president sees as using tactics that are manipulative in order to encourage abortion.
As a staunch advocate for protecting the unborn, President Reagan expanded legislative restrictions already in place, such as the Helms Amendment, and prevented any family planning funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from going to NGOs that provided or promoted abortions. Previously, NGOs were required to separate U.S. funds from non-U.S. funds, meaning money not given by the U.S. could still be used to perform abortions. Under the Mexico City Policy, NGOs could no longer use any of their funds for abortions or its promotion or they would not be eligible for U.S. foreign aid. Each NGO that received funds was required to sign a written statement that they would abide by the guidelines set in Mexico City Policy.
As administrations have changed, so has the implementation of the Mexico City Policy. During President Clinton and President Obama’s administrations, the policy was rescinded, but during both President George W. Bush and President Trump’s administration, it was reinstated. However, President Trump went a step further than past presidents and expanded the policy to cover funds from not only USAID, but from all departments or agencies. He is ensuring that no taxpayer money went to any NGO that promoted or performed abortions.
While some critics argue that this policy hurts women in developing countries by restricting access to family planning and post-abortion care, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Nothing about the Mexico City Policy restricts access to care for women. If a woman who had an abortion comes to a clinic that receives funds from a U.S. department or agency, they are required to provide post-abortion care. This policy in no way prevents women from receiving care or family planning services.
Moving forward, I hope future administrations continue to keep this policy and protect the lives of the unborn. No taxpayer money should be funding organizations, either domestically or abroad, that support or perform abortions.