Trump Is Right To Not Force Americans To Fund Abortions Abroad

Trump Is Right To Not Force Americans To Fund Abortions Abroad

U.S. policy has historically been never to promote abortions abroad. But too often, U.S. tax dollars help NGOs promote and perform abortions.
D.C. McAllister
By

Pro-Abortionists are dragging out old fake news narratives to oppose President Donald Trump’s reinstatement of a 33-year-old pro-life policy, which requires foreign non-government organizations to verify that they are not providing abortion services if they want to receive U.S. funding for global health assistance.

The Mexico City Policy was first enacted in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan during an international conference in Mexico City, stating “[T]he United States does not consider abortion an acceptable element of family planning programs and will no longer contribute to those of which it is a part.” The policy has been repealed by Democrat presidents and reinstated by Republicans ever since.

Until now, non-government organizations (NGOs) were denied U.S. funding only for global family planning assistance (including contraceptives), but Trump has expanded that to include all global health assistance.

Here’s What The Mexico City Policy Actually Does

To receive U.S. funds, an NGO must not do the following:

  • Provide advice and information about abortions as a family planning option or offer referrals
  • Promote changes in a country’s laws or polices related to abortion as a method of family planning
  • Conduct public information campaigns about abortions as a family planning option

However, NGOs can provide counseling and information about abortion or offer a referral when the mother’s life is at risk or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. They can also passively provide information by responding to questions about where safe and legal abortions can be obtained if a woman has already decided to have a legal abortion. In other words, if a woman comes in and doesn’t know what she wants to do, they can’t give her information about abortion to promote it. But if she asks, “Where can I get a safe abortion?” they can tell her.

U.S. funding is denied even if the NGOs say they are not directly using U.S. monies for abortion services. However, the policy was enacted because funds can be used in any way once they are received. This is why Trump has denied all global health assistance to NGOs providing abortion services—there’s no way to determine if money given for another health issue, such as HIV, is actually used in that way.

Americans Don’t Want to Support Abortion Worldwide

U.S. policy has historically been never to promote abortions in foreign countries (or in our own), but too often U.S. tax dollars have been shifted so NGOs can promote and perform abortions. This policy stops that.

According to a Marist poll, Americans are in favor of this kind of restriction. A total of 83 percent oppose funding abortion services internationally. That opposition is strong among Republicans, independents, and Democrats.

Pro-abortionists, however, are up in arms about it, writing headlines that make it look as if this order originated with Trump and then devolving into accusations of sexism. They’re also spreading unsubstantiated reports about abortions increasing as a result of the policy.

The Policy Doesn’t Necessarily Decrease Abortions

The National Abortion Rights Action League said, “It’s telling that one of Trump’s first executive actions combines two of his favorite things: silencing anyone who disagrees with him and repressing women. With this action, Donald Trump has turned his anti-women rhetoric into policy, and made it more difficult for women and families all over the world to access vital reproductive care. He really is living up to the lowest of expectations.”

From an article at The Nation, “Trump’s Anti-Abortion Order Actually Likely to Increase Abortions”:

Two days after millions of women and their allies throughout the world took to the streets to protest the bigotry and misogyny of Donald Trump, the president sat in the Oval Office, surrounded by other men, and signed an executive order that could have dire consequences for women living abroad.

The most absurd thing about the Mexico City Policy is that it does nothing to decrease abortions—in fact, multiple studies have shown that abortion rates rose in the past when the Global Gag Rule was reinstated. In 2011, researchers at Stanford University evaluated abortion rates in sub-Saharan African countries before and after 2001, when Bush revived the policy. They found ‘robust empirical patterns suggesting that the Mexico City policy is associated with increases in abortion rates,’ likely because ‘policies curtailing the activities of organizations that provide modern contraceptives’ lead to more unintended pregnancies and “may inadvertently lead to an increase in the abortion rate.’

The World Health Organization (WHO) study cited, however, is severely problematic in many ways. As reported by Michael New at National Review, “[S]tudies from the WHO should be viewed skeptically. The group has a well-known position in favor of legal abortion and expanding access to the procedure. What’s more, the study has a number of methodological shortcomings.”

According to New, those include the glaring fact that, contrary to the study’s claim, “contraception use in sub-Saharan Africa actually increased after the Mexico City policy took effect in 2001.”

According to the study itself, the percentage of women using modern contraceptives nearly doubled, shooting from 11.9 percent in 1994 to 18.9 percent in 2008. For this reason, it seems strange to argue that a lack of contraception was the culprit in the increased abortion numbers. . . .

They split the countries in this dataset into two groups. In the first group, “high exposure” countries received per-capita family-planning assistance from the U.S. that was above the median amount. In the second, “low exposure” countries received per-capita family-planning assistance from the U.S. that was below the median. However, according to the study, contraceptive-use rates increased by similar levels in both “high exposure” and “low exposure” countries.

The study is also riddled with several other problems. It’s missing data, which skews results, and the quality of the data is low.

“In addition,” New writes, “substantial research shows that overseas contraception programs tend to be ineffective.”

Here’s Why We Shouldn’t Pay For Abortion Overseas

A 2012 Policy Review study by Nicholas Eberstadt and Apoorva Shah examined fertility rates in over 40 Muslim countries and found a strong correlation between fertility rates and the number of children that women desired. The availability of contraceptives had only a marginal impact on fertility rates. Similarly, Lant Pritchett’s 1994 study of more than 60 less-developed countries found that national fertility rates are principally determined by the desire for children. Pritchett concluded that “contraceptive access or family planning effort more generally is not . . . a major factor in determining fertility differences.”

These studies, however, aren’t receiving the attention they should by those claiming that the Mexico City Policy increases the number of abortions abroad. Instead, they’re using the reinstatement of this order, which was done by President George W. Bush as well, to push a pro-abortion agenda and accuse Trump of hating women.

As someone who is staunchly pro-life, let me answer this, not with a study, but with the reason the U.S. has always had a policy not to pay for abortions overseas. Abortion is immoral. It might be legal, but it’s immoral. A government that uses taxpayer money to pay for the killing of the unborn here or in other countries is a government that does not value the right to life—the very foundation of our liberty.

Global Health Welfare Isn’t American Taxpayers’ Job

Additionally, it is not the role of the United States to pay for the health care of people in other countries. That might sound cold and callous. But when we’re in debt by trillions of dollars, when we can’t care for our own needs and responsibilities, then we should not be paying for family planning or contraception—and certainly not abortions—for women in other nations. That’s not our responsibility.

I have compassion for women who are living in poor conditions in other parts of the world, but I respect their dignity and their choices. Their family planning is their responsibility, not mine, no matter their situation. In cases where women are raped, this policy does not affect them. That’s a separate issue, but we should not be paying for contraception, family planning, or abortion services.

Many will object to my position, saying we should stand for women’s rights throughout the world. I do. I stand for women to be free and enjoy all the liberties and rights I enjoy. But free contraception and abortion are not a woman’s right—not here and not in another country across the globe.

Denise C. McAllister is a journalist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Follow her on Twitter @McAllisterDen.

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