Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

White House closes international abortion funding loophole

Abortion | Pro-life groups applaud expansion of Reagan-era Mexico City Policy
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 5/22/17, 09:19 am

President Donald Trump expanded the Mexico City Policy last week to include all foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The Reagan-era rule that bans U.S. funding for groups that perform or promote abortion previously applied only to family planning groups such as International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International. About $8.8 billion in U.S. funds will fall under the expanded rule, called “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” according to a senior Trump administration official. 

Unlike the Mexico City Policy, which Trump re-instated in January, the new rule will cover health programs for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and malaria treatment, in addition to family planning and reproductive health. C-Fam’s Lisa Correnti told me the policy change was necessary to cut U.S. funding for all international abortion, since abortion giants such as IPPF and Marie Stopes International are no longer the only groups providing abortion around the world: “It’s been institutionalized, so it’s coming through many different agencies and departments. That is the reason why it had to be extended across all global health.”

Pro-life leaders praised the new rule. 

“Contrary to what the abortion giants and their pro-abortion liberal friends are saying, this expanded Mexico City Policy will be welcomed across Africa,” said Obianuju Ekeocha, president of Culture of Life Africa.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., also hailed the change, noting the policy doesn’t cut one penny from global health assistance funds: “This humane policy seeks to respect and protect the precious lives of unborn girls and boys from the violence of abortion.”

Under the new rule, foreign NGOs will be allowed to receive funds if they promise not to perform or promote abortion, and the rest of the funds will be redirected. Correnti predicted the government will have no trouble finding new grant recipients: “There are many, many faith-based organizations that do work on the ground in these developing countries that can deliver these services and comply and not be using their own money to promote abortion or perform abortions.”

In the past, some organizations may have been overlooked for aid grants since they don’t provide “a full range of services,” but under the new rule, Correnti said more organizations delivering holistic care would be eligible: “We maintain that the healthcare delivery will actually improve.”

The new rule exempts U.S. assistance to national or local governments, public international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank, and any U.S. humanitarian aid, such as the State Department’s refugee assistance program, USAID disaster relief, and U.S. Department of Defense relief.

Creative Commons/KOMU Photo/Amanda Bromwich Creative Commons/KOMU Photo/Amanda Bromwich People pray outside the Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

Missouri defunds Planned Parenthood—again 

Missouri legislators recently discovered state dollars going to Planned Parenthood despite defunding the organization last year. The state’s 2018 budget includes a new blanket ban on Medicaid funds to facilities that perform, encourage, or refer for abortions. 

Last year, the state cut $380,000 in state Medicaid funding to the abortion giant with a ban on funding to organizations that perform abortions. In doing so, they said goodbye to $8 million in federal funds, replacing them with money from the state coffer. But state officials continued to release funds to Planned Parenthood facilities that merely referred women to the group’s abortion megacenters in St. Louis and Kansas City, Kansas. 

Susan Klein, Missouri Right to Life’s legislative liaison, told me funding to Planned Parenthood has been “ingrained” into the budget system and is hard to oust: “As [legislators] find all this money that’s been hidden over the years from different administrations that support abortion, then they’re defunding.”

The new budget redirects money from abortion centers to community health agencies and grants $14 million to cover pregnant women and children who cannot afford medical insurance but don’t qualify for Medicaid. Klein said she expects Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to approve the budget. —S.G.

A page from the LGBT activist playbook 

Even while Missouri attempts to redirect funds away from abortion providers, a group of pro-life organizations is suing the city of St. Louis over a new ordinance that discriminates against pro-life groups. Ordinance 7059, which took effect in February, grants protected-class status to people who want or already have had an abortion. The ordinance does not apply to “religious institutions” but bans employers, landlords, or lending agencies from engaging in “discriminatory” behavior toward someone’s “reproductive health decision.” With help from the Thomas More Society, a home for pregnant women, a group of Catholic schools, a for-profit holding company and its owner, filed a lawsuit against the ordinance for violating state and federal law. Plaintiffs say the ordinance violates their right to free speech, and the home for women, Our Lady’s Inn, expressed concern the ordinance might force it to hire abortion activists. The ordinance also runs contrary to several Missouri state laws, including two that ban mandating employers to provide medical coverage for abortion. —S.G.

On-campus abortion 

California state Sen. Connie Leyva introduced a bill this year that would require California State University campuses and California Community Colleges to cover abortion in student and faculty health insurance plans and to provide abortion pills and “abortion counseling services” at on-campus health centers. The health centers also would be required to employ staff “who are trained and licensed to provide abortion by medication.” The bill aims to help students seeking abortion save time and money. It claims the travel and expense of getting an abortion are “burdens” that hurt students’ grades and mental health. —S.G.

Something to celebrate

This year has seen numerous Planned Parenthood facility closures across the country, including four planned closures in Iowa, three in New Mexico, one in Wyoming, and two just announced in Colorado. Many of those facilities did not perform abortions but referred women to other facilities that do. reports that at least 13 Planned Parenthood facilities have either closed or plan to close this year. The facilities often cite a lack of funding. —S.G.

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Samantha Gobba

Samantha is a freelancer for WORLD Digital. She is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute, and she holds a bechelor degree in English from Hillsdale College and a multiple subject teaching credential from California State University. Samantha resides in Chico, Calif., with her husband and their two sons.

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  • Ben K
    Posted: Sat, 05/27/2017 08:44 am

    Excellent, thanks!