Abortion restrictions expanded for foreign nonprofits receiving US health funds

Organizations receiving U.S. health aid must sign and pledge to follow the rules

If a foreign NGO cannot meet the new requirements, the administration says it will redirect funds to a similar group that can comply.

The announcement was met with praise from anti-abortion rights groups in the U.S.

"The Executive Memorandum implemented today is one of the reasons pro-life voters worked to elect Donald Trump to the White House. With the implementation of Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, we have officially ceased exporting abortion to foreign nations," said Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, a nonprofit that seeks to end abortion in the U.S. "By modernizing this important policy and expanding it to include $8.8 billion in foreign aid, President Trump is continuing Ronald Reagan’s pro-life legacy."

There is some question about the $8.8 billion figure. though. At $6.8 billion, PEPFAR comprises the majority of that sum -- but most of their funds go directly to foreign governments and are exempt from this new rule. Another $1.1 to 1.3 billion goes to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and is also exempt. A senior State Department official could not say how much money this would cut to recipients providing or promoting abortions, but said the important point is that it applies to all global health assistance programs.

Pro-abortion rights groups were quick to condemn the move as a threat to women's lives and health care abroad.

"This policy is sure to tragically increase the number of unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and women dying from pregnancy-related complications around the world," said Latanya Mapp Frett, executive director of Planned Parenthood Global. "We know this because we saw it under previous versions of the policy -- and this rule goes even further."

Effective today, the new clause will be included in all future grants and cooperative agreements. Moving forward, when any existing agreement or grant is amended to provide additional funds, the clause will be added. At that point, recipient organizations will be required to sign and pledge that they will abide by the new clause or lose U.S. funds.

This change in policy makes good on that order, as well as Trump’s promise that no taxpayer will be used to support organizations that promote or provide abortions, according to a State Department official.