The White House announced on May 15 that President Donald Trump's administration it will sizably increase the so-called Mexico City policy, a pro-life regulation intended to keep international funding as far away from abortion providers as possible.
The Trump's administration's "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance" policy will broaden the Mexico City policy of former President George W. Bush -- which was reversed by former President Barack Obama only to be reinstated in January Trump in January -- to include not only the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, but now the Department of Defense, as well, reports David Brody of Christian Broadcasting Network News. The policy previously covered approximately $600 million in aid; now, it will apply to an estimated $8.8 billion.
"The pro-life policy will apply to global health assistance funding for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health," a White House official told Brody.
Trump's measure instructs Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies," insofar as the law permits.
"I further direct the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization," the policy adds.
However, the anti-abortion policy was not well-received by everyone.
"Today, the Trump administration confirmed our worst fears regarding this new, drastically expanded global gag executive order," said Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, according to The Huffington Post. "This administration's pathetic rebranding of this policy is a thinly veiled attempt to hide the tremendous harm it has around the world. President Trump's dangerous obsession with rolling back reproductive rights has severe consequences for millions of vulnerable women and children, and grossly undermines our nation's humanitarian leadership around the globe."
Approximately 47,000 people worldwide die from unsafe abortions every year.
A White House official said that the amount of health funding around the world will not change, even as the non-governmental organizations that do not meet the new criteria will no longer be eligible for aid, according to CBNN.
"Foreign NGOs that agree not to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning, or provide financial support to any other foreign non-governmental organization that conducts such activities, will remain eligible for global health assistance funding," said the official.
The U.S. provides more funding for global health programs than any other country in the world, notes The Post.