The Trump administration recently released a new report discussing the impact of the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy, which shows that despite liberal complaints to the contrary, pro-life policies have little to no negative impact on health care.
In the first weeks of his presidency, Donald Trump reinstituted the Mexico City Policy, which prevents federal funds from going to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that fund or promote abortion as a method of family planning. This policy was expanded under PLGHA, requiring all organizations that receive global health assistance “to agree that they will not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning or provide financial support to any other organization that conducts such activities.”
During an address at the United Nations in September 2019, President Trump stated, “Americans will also never tire of defending innocent life […and] we in America believe that every child—born and unborn—is a sacred gift from God.”
In an interview with The Daily Citizen, Jennifer Lichter, Deputy Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, shared, “Life is really important to the president and his team. Our domestic and international policy has to be consistent because it’s all coming from the same president with the same commitments that extend throughout the world. We believe it’s worth protecting preborn babies here in the U.S. and around the world as well.”
“What this report shows is that putting this policy in place across U.S. global health assistance funding has caused really only minimal disruptions to health care delivery. So, concerns by the Left that this kind of pro-life policy gets in the way of supporting women’s health around the world is just wrong.”
Usually, pro-abortion groups argue that removing abortion care will somehow result in a lack of health care for women entirely. Planned Parenthood Action states that the Mexico City policy, “is a dangerous anti-abortion policy that risks the health and lives of women and girls around the world.” But that’s not true, according to Lichter and this new report.
Lichter explains, “This report shows that when a handful of grantees declined to agree to the terms of PLGHA, the government was able to work really quickly and move on to new grantees to prevent or minimize gaps in the provision of health. It also shows that women’s health and the U.S. support for women’s health has not been reduced by one single dollar.
“The U.S. is still the largest bilateral funder of health around the world, and we are proud to be showing the world that we can do that and still maintain our financial commitment to global health and women’s health while also remaining firmly committed to protecting human life.
“The vast majority of U.S. government partners and NGOs that get global health assistance did agree to PLGHA. It’s really interesting and noteworthy that two of the small handful of groups that did not agree were the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, which are two radical pro-abortion groups. Both forfeited their U.S. government funding and are no longer partners for U.S. health assistance, they made that choice and were not forced out, but not a terrible outcome if you ask me.”
In fact, according to the report, only 8 awardees and 47 sub-awardees declined to agree to PLGHA. That’s out of a total of 1,340 prime health awards. In instances where the sub-awardees declined to follow PLGHA guidelines, the prime implementers, those who receive the grants and use another party to distribute them, were able to transition, in part or in whole, to another sub-awardee to fulfill the grant.
This is a welcomed policy change for several countries around the world where abortion is generally not considered culturally acceptable, but it is often tied into much needed health care funding and support.
“Women around the world are disserved by advocacy organizations that try to push them towards abortions,” Lichter said. “Especially in parts of the world and the developing world where that’s inconsistent with the religious and cultural backgrounds of these women.
“A lot of the Western world, Europe in particular, are notorious for being essentially abortion imperialists and tying a lot of their funding assistance to pushing abortion in places where it isn’t currently standard, and the U.S. stands against that. Real robust health care for women and girls treats them with respect and gives them the best quality health care, but also protects babies in the womb as well.”
“A lot of those countries have welcomed this administration and they are very happy to be part of U.S. led coalition that is standing up for life.”
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also shared a statement of support for the policy and the positive impact it’s having on women and families. “Under President Trump, the United States has implemented unprecedented protections for life in the health assistance we provide abroad, while remaining the world’s single largest supporter of global health efforts. The second review of the President’s policy to protect life in global health assistance shows that HHS implemented the policy without any interruption to the important and significant services our grantees provide. HHS is leading the Trump Administration’s work to build a coalition of nations, representing more than 1 billion people, to push back against international efforts to undermine the sanctity of life and the family. As the most pro-life administration in American history, we will continue standing up for life around the world.”
These changes made by the administration are done not to negatively impact women’s health, as organizations like Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International would say, but to show the world that providing health care to women and girls does not have to include abortion.
“We are bringing some real positive impacts and positive changes to the delivery of women’s health around the world. It’s just really important that we’re not reducing support for women’s health, but we have a different vision for what that should look like and how to really care for women,” Lichter said.
It’s a policy that President Donald Trump and his entire administration seem poised to continue into the future.
“This is not just a pro-life president, but he has pulled together a staff from the top on down, from here in the White House to the agencies throughout Washington, D.C., who are totally committed to defending the unborn.”
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