President Donald Trump reinstated the "Mexico City policy" on Monday January 23,2017 issuing an executive order barring foreign aid or federal funding for international nongovernmental organizations that promote or provide abortions.

Since its inception in 1984, the funding ban — officially known as the “Mexico City policy” and referred to as “the global gag rule” by its critics — has been repealed and reinstated every time a different political party has assumed power in the White House.

United States law already prohibits the use of American taxpayer dollars for abortion services anywhere, including in countries where the procedure is legal. But Mr. Trump’s order takes the prohibition further: It freezes funding to nongovernmental organizations in poor countries if they offer abortion counseling or if they advocate the right to seek abortion in their countries.

Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence stated their opposition to abortion during the presidential campaign.

Source: Mills, Curt. "Trump Reinstates International Abortion Funding Ban." N.p., 23 Jan. 2017. Web.

So what, exactly, is the Mexico City policy?

The policy, as first implemented by Reagan, went further than the Helms Amendment in two key ways:

First, it holds that if a group wants U.S. funding it must promise not to use monies even from other sources to provide abortions.

Second, the group must also agree not to "actively promote" abortion. In practice this has covered not just advocating for laws in favor of abortion rights but informational activities such as providing patients with referrals, counseling or information about the procedure.

How much aid money is at stake?

The full implications are not clear. The U.S. spends more than $10 billion annually on global health — including $607.5 million specifically on reproductive health. And it remains to be seen how much of that goes to groups that currently provide or promote abortion.

Source: Aizenman, Nurith. "Trump Bans U.S. Funding For Groups That 'Promote' Abortion Overseas." NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.


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