ACLJ Submits Public Comment in Support of Expanded Mexico City Policy Blocking International Taxpayer Funding for Abortion


Olivia Summers


November 16, 2020

On January 23, 2017, in one of the first acts of his Administration, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Memorandum reinstating the Mexico City Policy – which had been rescinded under President Obama. Not only did President Trump reinstate the policy, but he expanded it under a plan called “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” (PLGHA). The Mexico City Policy and its expanded Protecting Life policy prevents U.S. taxpayer dollars from not only directly funding abortions overseas but also prohibit foreign aid, grants, and contracts from going to entities that even promote abortion. In order to implement the expanded policy, the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), announced a new rule to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). As we’ve informed you before: Administrative regulations are used by the Federal Government to “ carry out or explain law or policy .” Prior to implementing new regulations or rules, the agency adopting the regulation will often provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the proposed change. This public comment period is important, as it allows U.S. citizens to share their opinion on, support of, or opposition to the regulations. The ACLJ actively engages in these public comment periods by submitting public comments on behalf of itself and its members, which contain legal analyses of the proposed rules. Now, the ACLJ has once again engaged in that process by submitting a public comment in support of the proposed rule on behalf of the ACLJ and over 45,000 of our members. The Mexico City Policy is a Reagan-era policy that required foreign NGOs to agree, as a condition of receiving USAID family planning assistance, not to perform or actively promote abortion with any of the source funds. The Policy, issued by President Reagan, was rescinded by President Clinton, reinstated by President Bush, rescinded by President Obama, and then reinstated under President Trump. Clearly, the policy is implemented or rescinded based on whether the President values the sanctity of human life, and it always affects a large number of taxpayer dollars. In 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lauded President Trump’s expansion of the Policy, stating : It now protects every human life impacted by the nearly $9 billion of foreign aid we spend on global health programs each year, and in turn protects more unborn babies around the world than ever before. This is decent; this is right. As we state in our comment : The ACLJ urges the DoD, GSA, and NASA to adopt the Rule in its entirety. The PLGHA plan is absolutely crucial to preventing the use of American taxpayer dollars for the performance and promotion of abortion and abortion-related activities (such as biomedical research and sterilization) in foreign nations. The Rule is consistent with both the original Executive Order and with Federal law, and contrary to what some may believe, the policy does not reduce family planning funding overseas nor does it cripple women in their fight for reproductive rights. The PLGHA plan merely ensures that federal funds are not used to promote a practice that many Americans find repugnant and that many foreign nations still oppose. We here at the ACLJ are well aware that while this policy is now being implemented and innocent babies around the world are being protected, the abortion industry and the Left will immediately attack and attempt to rescind this critical pro-life policy. And we are working preemptively to defend it. When agencies implement these rules, they ask for the input of the public – and when a rule enjoys overwhelming support from U.S. citizens, that is part of the government record. As we point out in our comment : Generally, it is good for society to shape its laws in ways that acknowledge these rights and protect them. As Americans, we have always valued the right to life, and we should continue to do so. While there is certainly robust debate surrounding the issue of abortion in the United States, a recent poll revealed that a large majority of Americans support restrictions on abortion, and “the finding that 70% of Americans either oppose abortion or favor limits on it rather than having it legal under any circumstances is echoed in the large majorities of Americans who have consistently said it should not be legal in the second (65%) and third (81%) trimesters.” When you sign our petitions, sign onto our public comment, and submit your own comments, you let the government agencies know that there is indeed a majority of pro-life Americans who do not want their tax dollars to fund abortion here or abroad – and that does not change no matter who the President is. We will always fight to protect innocent babies in the womb. You can help us fight for them by signing our petition.