During his first week in office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to defund International Planned Parenthood to ensure that millions of taxpayer dollars don’t go to the biggest abortion business in the world to advance its abortion agenda.
Eventually President Trump expanded the policy to stop taxpayer funding of groups that perform and promote abortions overseas by drastically increasing the amount of global health assistance funds and government programs that will be covered under the policy. Ultimately, the Planned Parenthood abortion business lost over $100 million in taxpayer dollars as of 2018, an amount that is even greater today.
Abortion advocates and pro-abortion Democrats in Congress have been desperate to restore the funding. Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire filed an amendment to the State and Foreign Operations bill to restore the funding and reverse President Trump’s executive order. As members of the House and Senate debated different versions of the bill, White House staffers lobbied against the amendment so the Planned Parenthood funding block could remain in place.
The Bipartisan Budget Agreement reached by congressional leaders and the Trump administration earlier this year stipulates: “There will be no poison pills, additional new riders…unless agreed to on a bipartisan basis by the four leaders with the approval of the President.”
Today, pro-life groups celebrated as President Trump and pro-life leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate defeated the anti-life Shaheen amendment so the final version of the bill retains Trump’s executive order.
SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser told LifeNews.com she was delighted by the news.
“We are pleased that the anti-life Shaheen Amendment has been eliminated from the State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill,” she said.
“Senator Shaheen sought to add highly partisan, controversial language that would have increased taxpayer funding to U.S.-based organizations that promote abortion overseas and required one-sided targeting of the Trump administration’s pro-life policies – violating the groundbreaking budget agreement that Democratic Leaders Pelosi and Schumer were obligated to honor. We thank President Trump for his strong leadership, as well as Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Minority Leader McCarthy, Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Granger, and all our pro-life allies for holding pro-abortion Democrats accountable. We trust that they will continue to stand against any effort to undermine President Trump’s pro-life policies.”
Tom McClusky, President of March for Life Action, also told LifeNews he was happy to see the amendment stopped: “I applaud the Trump Administration and House Republican Leadership for protecting current pro-life policy in the recent spending bill, including President Trump’s pro-life Global Health Initiative. This is yet another example of President Trump fulfilling the promise he made at the 2019 March for Life.”
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Earlier this year, nearly four dozen pro-life organizations spearheaded by SBA List sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urging them to reject the Shaheen amendment.
The policy prohibits taxpayer funding to international groups that promote and/or provide abortions overseas, the biggest of which is IPPF. Trump’s decision applied to nearly nine billion dollars in U.S. taxpayer funds to foreign non-governmental organizations. The policy ensures U.S. funds continue to go to health care, humanitarian relief, and even family planning; it only blocks funding to those groups like IPPF that perform or promote abortion in other nations.
In early 2019, the Trump administration expanded the policy a second time. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Trump Administration announced new enforcement mechanism designed to expand this executive order to the broadest extent possible. Pompeo announced that the U.S. State Department will refuse to work with any foreign non-governmental organization (NGO) engaged in the abortion business. The State Department will also refuse to fund foreign NGOs that give money to other foreign NGOs engaged in the international abortion industry.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, also praised the president in remarks to LifeNews.com.
“The Trump administration has been the most pro-life administration in history, and Secretary Pompeo and President Trump should be thanked for closing the loopholes that allowed NGOs to take our taxpayer dollars and give them to sub-contractors that commit or promote abortions. This is an 80-20 issue, and the American people have made it clear they do not want their taxpayer dollars subsidizing abortions. This step will start to rectify the mistakes we made in enshrining abortion into Kenya’s constitution, a grave mistake made by the Obama administration,” she explained.
This policy will close the 90 to 95% of the loopholes that allowed NGOs to skirt the Mexico City Policy’s prohibitions on taxpayer-funding of abortions through foreign aid dollars. According to the announcement, NGOs will have to provide certification to the State Department that they are not involved with abortions.
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Author: Steven Ertelt