US Secretary of State expands Mexico City Policy

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Credit Dept of State CNA US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Courtesy of the Department of State.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday an expansion of the pro-life Mexico City Policy and the slashing of funds to the Organization of American States in response to its abortion advocacy.

These new policies are designed to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortion or the promotion of abortion abroad.

"The American people should rest assured that this administration – and this State Department, and our USAID – will do all we can to safeguard U.S. taxpayer dollars and protect and respect the sanctity of life for people all around the globe," Pompeo said March 26.

The State Department "will take all appropriate action" to implement the Mexico City Policy "to the broadest extent possible," the secretary added.

The Mexico City Policy is a Reagan-era policy that forbids the use of American taxpayer dollars to support foreign nongovernmental organizations that "perform or actively promote" the use of abortion as a form of family planning. Pompeo expanded on this definition, and announced new restrictions for funds.

"As a result of my decision today, we are also making clear we will refuse to provide assistance to foreign NGOs that give financial support to other foreign groups in the global abortion industry," Pompeo explained.

He referred to this practice as "backdoor funding schemes and end-runs" that seek to skirt the Mexico City Policy.

Pompeo also announced that the federal law known as the "Siljander Amendment" will be "fully enforced." The Siljander Amendment prohibits the use of U.S. funds, including foreign aid, to be used to lobby for or against abortion.

This announcement came after "recent evidence of abortion-related advocacy by an organ of the Organization of American States (OAS)," said Pompeo, who added that he directed a new provision to foreign assistance agreements with OAS which "explicitly prohibits" money being used to lobby for or against abortion.

Instead of lobbying for abortion, Pompeo said that the OAS should be concerned with the crises in its member states Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

In response to discovering that an organ of the OAS was "advancing the pro-abortion cause," Pompeo announced that the State Deparment would be reducing the amount of money it gives each year to the OAS.

"Our reduction equals the estimated U.S. share of possible OAS expendiatures on these abortion-related activities," he said.

The United States contributes about $9 billion each year in foreign aid to global health programs.

Since reactivating the Mexico City Policy in 2017, as is customary for Republican administrations, Pompeo said the "vast majority" of NGOs affected by the policy have agreed to stop performing or promoting abortion in order to continue to receive funds.

This, explained Pompeo, is evidence that the United States "can continue to meet our critical global health goals, including providing healthcare for women, while refusing to subsidize the killing of unborn babies."

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