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US expands restrictions on global family-planning funds

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces this Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at the State Department in Washington that the US will reduce contributions to the Organization of America States (OAS) on grounds that some OAS entities advocate access to abortion. EFE-EPA/Erik S. Lesser

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces this Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at the State Department in Washington that the US will reduce contributions to the Organization of America States (OAS) on grounds that some OAS entities advocate access to abortion. EFE-EPA/Erik S. Lesser

EFE

The United States announced Tuesday an extension of its prohibition on aid to fund or promote abortion to include organizations that are not engaged in those activities but support third parties involved in abortions.

“We will refuse to provide assistance to foreign NGOs that give financial support to other foreign groups in the global abortion industry,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

“We will enforce a strict prohibition on backdoor funding schemes and end runs around our policy. American taxpayer dollars will not be used to underwrite abortions,” he told reporters at the State Department .

One of the first steps under the new guidelines will be reducing US contributions to the Organization of America States (OAS) on the grounds that some OAS entities advocate for access to abortion.

“The institutions of the OAS should be focused on the crises in Cuba, Nicaragua and in Venezuela and not advancing the pro-abortion cause,” Pompeo said.

The secretary did not specify the nature of the objectionable activities of the OAS, nor did he say by how much US aid to the Washington-based hemispheric body would be cut.

This decision is part of an extension of the so-called Mexico City policy, created in the 1980s by President Ronald Reagan.

Starting with the (1992-2000) Bill Clinton administration, every Democratic president has revoked the policy, while every succeeding Republican chief executive has reinstated it.

President Donald Trump put the policy back in place soon after taking office in January 2017. Four months later the State Department announced the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance program, which will have $8.8 billion to finance NGOs around the world that comply with what Democrats and other critics call the “global gag rule” on abortion.

“This is a policy that is designed fundamentally to protect human beings,” Pompeo said Tuesday.

Since Trump’s arrival at the White House, the movement against abortion has gained momentum in the US, and activists consider the naming of two conservative judges to the Supreme Court over the past two years makes it more likely that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion will be revised.


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