The Left’s exaggeration of President Donald Trump’s actions seems to have no bounds, especially when it comes to the issue of abortion. Any limit on the practice, and “we’re living in The Handmaid’s Tale!” On Friday, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper accused the president of signing “a global death warrant for women.”
“Six months ago, one powerful man in the White House, watched by seven more, signed a piece of paper that will prevent millions of women around the world from deciding what they can and can’t do with their own bodies,” The Guardian‘s Sarah Boseley reported. “In that moment, on his very first Monday morning in office, Donald Trump effectively signed the death warrants of thousands of women.”
Boseley linked to, and was exaggerating, the claims of philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, who warned that the Mexico City Policy would endanger “millions of women and children.”
So what is the Mexico City Policy? The policy first took effect in 1985 under President Ronald Reagan, and it has been revoked by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and reinstated by George W. Bush and Donald Trump. The policy bars non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that offer or promote abortion from receiving federal funding.
“Not only is funding abortions abroad far outside America’s national interest, the deicision to overturn this rule allowed money from the American people to be used to support a practice that millions of Americans are firmly against,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said when Trump reinstated the policy.
Other U.S. law prohibits federal tax dollars going specifically to abortion overseas, but the Mexico City Policy forbids any funding to groups which also perform or advocate abortions. Abortion groups attacked the policy as a “global gag order.”
In January, NARAL Pro-Choice America tweeted that the policy “kills funding for ANY health center that even *mentions* abortion.”
— NARAL (@NARAL) January 23, 2017
Even The Washington Post‘s Michelle Ye Hee Lee reported that this claim is false. According to the policy, any NGO that is “actively promoting” abortion cannot receive funding. This includes activism “to increase the availability or use of abortion.” This “gag order” would cover actions such as lobbying a foreign government to support abortion, providing advice about the benefits of abortion, or conducting a public information campaign supporting abortion.
But NGOs can still receive U.S. funding if they mention abortion in at least three ways. They can suggest abortion for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest or that endanger the mother’s life, they can treat illnesses or injuries after women have received an abortion, and they can respond to a question about obtaining a legal abortion if a pregnant woman has already decided she will have one. They just cannot convince her to do so.
As it turns out, a vast majority of Americans agree with this limited policy. A January poll that examined Americans’ attitudes on abortion in depth discovered that a whopping 83 percent oppose or strongly oppose “using tax dollars to support abortions in foreign countries.”
That’s support, not perform. In other words, more than four in five Americans do not want their tax dollars going to advocate for abortion overseas.
So how do liberals argue against this policy? They warn that it will kill women and children. Left-wing outlets unleashed a barrage of such attacks in May when Trump expanded the policy.
It’s not just The Guardian: In its May 15 article, The New York Times only quoted critics of the policy. Slate warned that Trump was holding $8.8 billion in global aid “hostage.” The Independent‘s headline read “Women and Children Will Die.” The Washington Post put a number on this slaughter, warning of “at least tens of thousands more deaths.”
The thing is, America will still send huge donations to NGOs that provide services like maternal care, prenatal care, and programs that ensure nutrition and medical care for mothers and children. The Mexico City Policy only requires that groups providing these services do not also advocate abortion.
In typical fashion, liberals argue that women will get abortions anyway, and so if American taxpayer dollars aren’t going to promote abortion overseas, the situation will get worse for women. “It is an unprecedented attack on women’s rights,” Ulla Müller, president and CEO of the group EngenderHealth, told The Guardian. “Girls are kicked out of school if they get pregnant. They are very often forced to marry the fathers. Very often they have to live in their in-laws’ house, where they have to do unpaid labour. It is a violation of women’s rights.”
Wow. Those are horrible conditions. Why not protest those kinds of practices, rather than supporting abortion? Why not advocate against female genital mutilation (FGM), which plagues millions of women across Africa? Why must the single answer always be abortion?
In fact, liberal abortion advocacy groups have twisted United Nations poverty policy into a dangerous threat to African women’s health. Rebecca Oas, associate director of research for the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM), explained that the UN’s estimate that 200 million want contraception is not based on what the women actually want, but whether they would “prefer to become pregnant in the next two years.”
Then, based on this inaccurate data, the UN insists there is an “unmet need” for contraception, it foists dangerous and outdated methods of contraception on African women, and it measures pregnancies prevented as “deaths averted,” and even as “lives saved.”
That’s right — many of the lives abortion advocates want to “save” are actually babies prevented from being born in the first place.
So what happens with the Mexico City Policy? American taxpayer dollars go to organizations that only provide other humanitarian relief, and do not support abortion. The policy does not prevent abortions from happening overseas, it just prevents Americans from unwittingly endorsing them.
Contrary to the abortion advocates’ rhetoric, it kills no one. Foreign NGOs committed to supporting abortion will have to decide whether or not such advocacy is worth sacrificing American funding. If the groups The Guardian mentions, which also fight Zika and AIDS, decide to risk American funding over abortion, that is their decision. There is also no limit on American non-governmental philanthropy helping these groups.
Trump signed no “global death warrant” in January, and his expansion of the Mexico City Policy in May also did not constitute a “death warrant.” That The Guardian, The Independent, and The Washington Post would say so is misleading at best and propaganda at worst.