WASHINGTON, D.C. February 2 (C-Fam) Some of President Donald J. Trump’s harshest critics admit that his reinstatement and expansion of the pro-life Mexico City Policy has been highly effective in advancing the United States’ moral influence to curb the international abortion lobby.
The policy has been implemented by Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan, blocking U.S. funding for foreign organizations that provide or advocate for abortions. Direct U.S. funding for overseas abortions is already prohibited in law by the Helms Amendment in 1973.
Despite the deeply entrenched political divide around abortion, the policy’s critics hope to sway pro-life stakeholders by arguing that the policy causes harm through its unintended consequences. They claim that it results in the denial of basic health services to women whose providers choose not to comply with the policy, lose U.S. funding, and therefore reduce their offerings or close their doors altogether.
Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, two of the largest international family planning providers—who also perform abortions—have notably refused to accept the terms of the reinstated policy. Instead, they have chosen to forego U.S. funding, even if it means cutting back their delivery of less controversial services or closing clinics entirely.
Because the Mexico City Policy involves U.S. aid work in foreign countries, the politics of abortion on the ground vary between locations, depending on local law, culture, and other donor organizations and countries. Nevertheless, there is clear evidence of the policy’s impact, often published by its critics. A 2010 report on the policy’s effects in Ethiopia cited erosion of trust in the legitimacy of abortion providers and quoted people as asking, “[I]f abortion is a positive development for Ethiopian women’s health, then why does the U.S. government not support it?”
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