[JURIST] President Donald Trump's administration announced [press release] plans Monday to expand the so-called Mexico City Policy blocking international family planning assistance through the US Agency for International Development [official website] to any groups or programs that provide abortion or abortion education to women. Trump's plan, named "Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance", implements "the manner in which U.S. Government Departments and Agencies will apply the provisions of the Mexico City Policy to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. funding for global health assistance." The plan originally only covered about $600 million in family planning funds but now extends to all roughly $9 billion international health care aid provided by the US government. The State Department said: "All foreign NGOs will have the opportunity to receive global health assistance awards if they indicate their agreement to abide by the terms of Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance by accepting the provisions in their award." In a statement to Christian Broadcasting Network News [CBNNews report], a White House official said, "Foreign NGOs that agree not to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning, or provide financial support to any other foreign non-governmental organization that conducts such activities, will remain eligible for global health assistance funding." Since many NGO clinics offer family planning in addition to other healthcare services, opponents argue the restriction will drastically reduce access to healthcare for those in rural areas.
Reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] continue to be a controversial issue in the US. In April UN Secretary-General António Guterres voiced deep regret [JURIST report] regarding US decision to cut financial support for the UN population agency over allegations of its involvement in coercive abortions and involuntary sterilization in China. In February the US House of Representatives recently approved a bill [JURIST report] that would overturn the Obama administration's rule prohibiting states from denying federal funding to Planned Parenthood and passed a bill [JURIST commentary] that makes permanent restrictions on federal funding abortion. That same month the Florida Supreme Court [official website] blocked [JURIST report] enforcement of the Mandatory Delay Law, which requires that a woman wait for 24 hours after receiving counseling from a physician before she can have an abortion. Also in February the Pennsylvania Senate [official website] approved SB 3 [JURIST report], putting Pennsylvania in line to become the seventeenth state to pass a bill banning abortions past 20 weeks.