Tuesday, May 16, 2017

State Department Implements Expanded "Mexico City Policy"

Yesterday the State Department took steps to implement an earlier Memorandum from President Trump that reinstated the "Mexico-City Policy" that bars U.S. foreign aid dollars from going to nongovernmental organizations that offer abortion counseling or  advocate the right to seek abortions in their home countries.(See prior posting).  In a Fact Sheet and a Background Briefing the State Department elaborated on its new plan called "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance" which expands on the Mexico City Policy as applied in prior Republican administrations.  According to the briefing:
...[G]lobal health assistance includes funding for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, family planning, and reproductive health. Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance applies to global health assistance to or implemented by foreign NGOs, including those to which a U.S. NGO makes a sub-award with such assistance funds.
Global health assistance to national or local governments, public international organizations, and other similar multilateral entities is not subject to this policy. Also excluded is humanitarian assistance, including State Department migration and refugee assistance activities, USAID disaster and humanitarian relief activities, and U.S. Department of Defense disaster and humanitarian relief. At any time, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of State may authorize additional case-by-case exemptions to the policy....
Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance applies to approximately $8.8 billion in funds appropriated to the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of Defense. Previously, the policy applied only to family planning assistance provided by USAID and the Department of State.
.... Departments and agencies will reprogram to other organizations any funding they would have awarded to NGOs that do not agree to the terms of Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.
New York Times reports on the policy expansion. Liberty Counsel issued a press release with additional information on the new policy.