New federal report: Most NGOs agreed to comply with Trump policy banning funding for overseas abortions

A pro-life demonstrator holds up a sign during the 2020 March for Life in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 24, 2020. | The Christian Post

A new report compiled by several federal agencies has concluded that the implementation of pro-life policies by the Trump administration has not had a negative impact on the distribution of healthcare aid to nongovernmental organizations operating in foreign countries.

The State Department, in collaboration with the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and the United States Agency for International Development, released the Review of the Implementation of the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy Tuesday.

“The Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) Policy aims to ensure that U.S. taxpayer funding does not support foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning,” a press release announcing the report’s publication explained.

“This review reaffirms that the United States can continue to meet its critical global health goals, while protecting life abroad through its global health assistance programs.” 

Less than a week after taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which required foreign NGOs that receive funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development to promise not to “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning or provide financial support to any other organization that conducts such activities.”

Trump expanded the Mexico City Policy to create the PLGHA, which extends the ban on the performance and promotion of abortions to NGOs receiving grants and cooperation agreements from the Departments of Defense, Human Services, and State.

“The vast majority of the U.S. government’s implementing partners accepted the PLGHA standard provision when presented with it,” the review found.

The review looked at all of the awards given to NGOs by the aforementioned agencies between May 15, 2017 and September 30, 2018. A total of 1,340 health awards were given to prime partners, which “have a direct funding agreement with a U.S. Department or Agency.” Of those 1,340 prime awardees, only eight declined to accept the terms of the PLGHA.

When that happens, “the Department or Agency redirects funds to other organizations” that do agree to abide by the terms of PLGHA. “The transitions to alternative health providers have been, for the most part, smooth,” the report read. “Only in limited instances has the agency struggled to identify new partners or sub-awardees with comparable skill networks, or capacity for outreach.”

According to the report, "USAID found that, in a few cases, a declination resulted in some impact on the delivery of health care, including for HIV/AIDS, voluntary family planning/reproductive health, tuberculosis, and nutrition programming."

But "most affected awards and sub-awards did not experience a disruption of health care or significant delays."

The report goes into detail about all of the specific NGOs that refused to abide by PLGHA and therefore forfeited the right to federal funding. Two such organizations were the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International.

Planned Parenthood Global took to Twitter multiple times on Tuesday to react to the release of the report. The pro-abortion group repeatedly slammed PLGHA, which it described as the “Global Gag Rule.” “According to State Dept report, the #globalgagrule has disrupted health care access in countries around the world,” one tweet declared.

Monica Kerrigan, executive director of Planned Parenthood Global, condemned the “global gag rule” in a statement released Tuesday. “Study after study has demonstrated that this policy has inflicted a crushing blow to health care access for people around the world, especially those who already face systemic barriers to care, including women and girls, young people, and LGBTQ+ people,” she said.

“No matter how much the State Department attempts to minimize the policy’s true impact, its latest report demonstrates what we already knew: the global gag rule is disrupting health care access for communities around the world, which is especially critical now as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, applauded the Trump administration for "refusing to let U.S. tax dollars fund the abortion industry overseas."

“Today’s report on the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance shows that the U.S. can still provide foreign aid without sacrificing the dignity of unborn human life,” she said Tuesday.

"It is no surprise that International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International refuse to comply with the policy, as they are extremists who are committed to promoting abortion on-demand throughout the globe, forfeiting their eligibility for funding."

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