GOP Lawmakers Ask Pompeo to Close Huge Loopholes in Mexico City Policy

By | January 24, 2020

WASHINGTON DC, January 24 (C-Fam) The expanded Mexico City Policy cut off U.S. funding to foreign groups that promote or perform abortion, but it did not stop funding to domestic groups that turn around and hand taxpayer money to those same foreign abortion groups. Republicans just told the Trump administration they want that loophole closed.

A letter released by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) from 59 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo expressed concern at their discovery that U.S. non-governmental organizations “are restructuring in order to negate the impact” of the policy on foreign affiliates.

President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, a prohibition of U.S. funding to foreign NGOs promoting and performing abortion.  The new policy renamed Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) currently applies to over $8 billion in global health though extensive carve outs were given to U.S. registered organizations despite their complicity in expanding abortion in developing countries.

Lawmakers cited examples of U.S. groups that promote abortion activities overseas yet still received over $250 million in U.S. global health funding in 2018.  The largest recipient, Population Services International (PSI) received over $120 million. The group works in 50 countries where they are a large distributor of medical abortion pills, provider of training in abortion, and an advocate for liberalizing abortion laws. PSI is undergoing a restructuring scheme with foreign affiliates to register them under their U.S. umbrella so they can continue to receive U.S. funds and perform abortion.

Pathfinder International received $85.7 million in 2018. The group collaborates with governments to include comprehensive abortion services in national healthcare programs. Another group, PATH, $52 million even though it is active in promoting abortion in South Asia.

The Population Council received $15 million in taxpayer funds on top of major Foundation grants. That group helped found a pharma company currently involved in a controversial second trimester medical abortion study in Burkina Faso. The study is billed as the promotion of “self care” abortion and is intended to workaround country’s pro-life laws.

“Our position is clear: domestic NGOs must adhere to the same accountability measures outlined in Title X as they would if they received federal foreign assistance,” said Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) who lead the effort for House members.  “If they choose to actively subvert these rules and engage in activities that support the termination of human life, their eligibility for taxpayer dollars should be forfeited.”

Lawmakers urged the State Department “to require U.S. NGOs to certify that, during the term of any award for US funding, their foreign NGO subgrantees will not perform abortion as a method of family planning and it will not refer, train for, or counsel on abortion as a method of family planning.”

Lawmakers said that requiring U.S. NGOs be compliant to PLGHA restrictions would be “constitutionally and statutorily grounded,” and said, “there is no First Amendment right to perform abortions.” They cited the Supreme Court ruling in Rust v. Sullivan that the first amendment of the Constitution is not violated by regulations prohibiting federal grant recipients from performing, providing counseling for, referring for, or co-locating with sites that perform abortion as a method of family planning.

By rechanneling monies from the already well-funded abortion groups, the lawmakers said, the administration would “free up” funds for new partnerships “that care for both mother and child.” Funds forfeited by groups that refuse to comply could be directed to ending preventable maternal mortality – now at 800 deaths per day.