May 15, 2017
This president doesn't think small. From a border wall to beefing up the military, Donald Trump's vision is like his larger-than-life personality. And for pro-lifers, who are used to some politicians doing the bare minimum, that's been a pleasant surprise. Today, they'll be thrilled to know the administration went big on something else: the Mexico City Policy.
Wait a minute, some of you are thinking. Didn't the president already reinstate it? He did -- back in January. But this morning, the White House took a giant leap forward, outdoing Presidents Bush and even Reagan with the actual implementation of the rule. In a policy dating back to every Republican administration since Ronald Reagan's, Trump continued the tradition of blocking even a single U.S. cent from going to any foreign group that performs or promotes abortion as "family planning" overseas. But unlike other administrations, this White House is significantly expanding how and where the rule is applied.
In what the president is calling the "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance" policy, the administration is multiplying the impact well beyond the Department of State. For the first time ever, the White House isn't just bringing $600 million in taxpayer funding under the authority of the pro-life rule, but $8.8 billion from the Departments of State, Health and Human Services, and Defense. That's almost 15 times more money flowing through the abortion ban than President Bush's policy! "I direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by law, to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies..." President Trump wrote. "I further direct the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization."
As one White House official told The Brody File, "The pro-life policy will apply to global health assistance funding for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health." As most people will tell you, the inclusion of the DOD is probably the single greatest change, since the order affects all global health assistance funding -- not just "family planning" dollars. Talk about making an immediate impact! There's no telling how many thousands of unborn lives this policy will save simply because Donald Trump dared to step out and do what 83 percent of Americans wanted: end taxpayer funding of overseas abortion groups.
As a Marist poll pointed out in January, Americans overwhelmingly support Trump's move to slash tax dollars for abortion groups -- even more so abroad (83 percent). In four short months, the new administration has systematically fulfilled a number of key campaign promises. The Mexico City Policy's implementation should reassure everyone who's questioned the merits of the president's recent executive order on religious liberty. If conservatives doubt this president's sincerity on the issue, they shouldn't. At the very least, he deserves the chance to implement the order before people judge how effective it is. All he's done these first 120 days is prove the critics wrong. I'm confident his religious freedom protections will be no different.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.