Trump proposes new rule to expand ban on health funding for foreign organizations offering abortion

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - In an effort to expand an existing ban on US federal funding for foreign groups that offer abortions, the Trump administration announced a new proposed rule Monday that would require foreign organizations receiving US health aid to agree not to provide or promote abortions, even if the abortions are funded through other sources, the Hill reports.

First implemented by the Reagan administration, the ban currently applies to grants and cooperative agreements between the US government and foreign groups. A controversial regulation, the “Mexico City Policy” has been rescinded by Democrats and reinstated by Republicans ever since its establishment. Then, in 2017, President Trump reinstated the policy, which had previously only applied to family planning assistance, and extended it by presidential memorandum to all US global health funding under "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance," the Hill reports.

According to a State Department report issued last month, most foreign groups agreed to the regulation and so continued to receive their grants. However, the report said, there was some disruption to health care around the world, as the minority of organizations that declined funding rather than participate under the new rules also included groups that offered services for HIV, family planning, tuberculosis, maternal and child health and nutrition.

The new proposed rule would extend the existing ban by applying the policy to any group receiving funding through contracts with the US government, which make up about 40 percent of global health aid. The expanded policy would prevent groups offering abortions from accessing funds for any type of health care.

The proposed rule is now subject to a 60 day comment period, which ends after the Presidential election on November 3.

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