Trump Signs ‘Mexico City Policy’ Banning Foreign Aid-Supported Abortions

By Nancy Flory Published on January 23, 2017

President Donald Trump on “Day One” of his presidency signed an executive order restoring the so-called “Mexico City Policy,” which requires all foreign non-governmental organizations that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services.  

Ronald Reagan first established the broader policy 33 years ago, which built on a 50-year-old law banning USAID from providing funds to any nongovernmental organization providing a number of services — including abortion.

Called the “global gag rule” by critics, the policy has been lifted or reinstated by presidents since Reagan, depending on whether the president was a Republican or a Democrat. Bill Clinton lifted the policy in 1993, George W. Bush reinstated in 2001 and Barack Obama pulled it during his first term as president.

Under the policy, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) will lose federal funding. Alison Marshall, the director of advocacy for IPPF, estimates that the abortion organization will lose approximately $100 million over a period of two to three years. 

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), the only woman remaining on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she has a legislative plan in place now that President Trump moved forward with restoring the policy. Shaheen is also worried that President Trump will gut gender equality programs, among other “liberal social policies.” Calling the move to reinstate the Mexico City policy “short-sighted,” Shaheen said that “Abolishing those programs is antithetical here in our democracy.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that it was “time to take a hard look at women’s aid programs,” reported Foreign Policy. “The State Department is trying to basically get countries who receive foreign assistance to sign up for a liberal agenda,” said Graham. He added that under the Obama administration, “It’s been out of control.”

In addition to his action on the Mexico City Policy, President Trump signed executive orders withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and freezing federal workforce hiring. President Trump exempted the military from the hiring freeze.

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