In one of his first acts as President, Donald Trump has reinstated a policy which prohibits non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from promoting or providing abortions as a method of ‘family planning’ overseas.
The “Mexico City Policy”, first brought in by President Reagan, was enforced by both Bush administrations but repealed by Clinton and Obama.
On Monday, President Trump signed an executive order reinstating the policy, and instructing the Secretary of State to implement a plan which applies it to all NGOs providing health assistance abroad.
The policy will prevent US taxpayer money from being used by organisations which promote or participate in abortion. This will include groups like abortion giant Planned Parenthood International.
It will also ban these organisations from advocating pro-abortion laws in overseas countries.
For the last eight years, under the Obama administration, US taxpayer money has been funding abortions abroad.
In the past, money has also been given to the United Nations Population Fund, which is accused of being complicit in China’s forced abortion and sterilisation programme.
The move by President Trump was welcomed by many pro-life groups and evangelical leaders.
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said using “taxpayer money to fund abortions is and always has been morally repugnant”.
“This is a welcome step in the right direction, and my hope is that the President will continue to defend human dignity and hold the predatory abortion industry accountable”, he added.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of pro-life lobby group Susan B. Anthony List, said the move would “ensure Americans are no longer complicit in violating the dignity of women and children overseas. No longer will abortion be a top U.S. export”.
And Kristan Hawkins, of Students for Life of America, said she hopes “this is only the beginning of defunding Planned Parenthood and the end of forcing American taxpayers to fund an industry that ends hundreds of thousands of innocent lives a year and irreparably harms women”.
Responding to the news Planned Parenthood, America’s biggest abortion provider, called the move “unacceptable”.
Describing the policy as “dangerous”, it claimed it would have a “far-reaching impact for women and girls around the world”.
Under domestic U.S policy, federal funding can be used for abortion in cases of rape, incest or when a mother’s life is at risk.