U.S. foreign policy promotes real global health

By Tony Perkins and Virginia Foxx

Tony Perkins is President of Family Research Council. Virginia Foxx is U.S. Representative for the 5th District of North Carolina. This article appeared in Washington Times on April 3, 2019.

The United States is once again taking the lead on true “family planning,” and that doesn’t include aborting unwanted children — especially with taxpayer money. From the start, the Trump administration has worked to build a wall between taxpayers and abortion-on-demand.

From restoring and expanding Ronald Reagan’s “Mexico City Policy” (officially known as the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy (PLGHA)) that ensures U.S. taxpayer monies will not fund non-government organizations (NGOs) that perform or actively promote abortion, to restoring the integrity of America’s Title X family planning program by preventing the “co-location” of taxpayer funds with abortion clinics, this president has shown an unrivaled commitment to protecting unborn human life.

We believe it is important to ensure that no backwards steps are taken to reverse these pro-life policies. According to a 2017 Marist poll, 83 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions in other countries. The Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Act of 2019 (introduced by Rep. Foxx) recognizes the majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortions in other countries. This bill codifies the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy so that it would remain the law of the land no matter who is president.

Furthermore, we applaud Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for building on the pro-life policy set forth by President Trump for U.S. foreign aid. He is now adding an extra layer to prevent funding not only to NGOs that perform or promote abortion but to any organization with which those NGOs might subcontract. Money is fungible, which means it flows through backdoors and loopholes. If foreign NGO’s receive federal funds for global health or family planning but turn around and subgrant with groups like International Planned Parenthood or others that perform or promote abortion, that too would undermine the PLGHA policy.

Under the new directive by Secretary Pompeo, no longer will subcontractors be allowed to use American taxpayer dollars to perform or promote abortions overseas.

Secretary Pompeo noted “this administration has shown that we can continue to meet our global health goals,” he said, but adding they will do this without “subsidiz[ing] the killing of unborn babies.” Yet none of the $8 billion in U.S. foreign assistance is being cut, and only two out of hundreds of organizations forgo U.S. funds rather than stop performing abortion. The expanded pro-life policy will stop groups like International Planned Parenthood from using subcontractors to market abortion as foreign aid under the guise of “family planning.”

After the instatement of the PLGHA policy, International Planned Parenthood received additional financial help from their Scandinavian friends to pick up the tab on their abortion efforts. Sweden threatened to defund groups that continue to receive U.S. foreign assistance, and the Dutch stepped in to provide millions for groups that engage in abortion. Their actions reflect allegiance to a radical pro-abortion agenda at the cost of true healthcare choices for pregnant women, and the U.S. should be proud of supporting women with life-affirming choices other countries are willing to deny.

The effect of the Trump administration’s policy of not funding abortion is that more money will be directed to real, life-saving health care for women and children. We cannot concur more strongly with Secretary Pompeo’s conviction that “this is decent, this is right,” and “[this] protects the least amongst us.” Abortion is not health care, and we should not export abortion overseas.

We will continue to work with President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to bring about a culture of life in which every child is welcomed into this world and protected under our laws, both here and abroad.