Pro-Life Is Pro-Women's Health

Pro-Life Is Pro-Women's Health
John Roark/Athens Banner-Herald via AP
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With the re-institution of a comprehensive, pro-life policy that blocks the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for overseas abortions, the United States stands as a beacon of pro-women health policy this International Women’s Day.

One of the first official acts of the Trump administration was to re-institute the “Mexico City Policy,” which bars nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from receiving U.S. aid dollars if they conduct abortions or actively promote the procedure as a method of family planning. The policy does have an exception for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when there is a risk to the mother’s life. First implemented by President Ronald Reagan, the policy has been in place under each Republican administration and rescinded by each Democratic administration since. The current administration also expanded the policy, applying it to all groups that receive global health assistance funds from the United States, rather than just groups that receive family planning funds.

This policy reflects how Americans feel about their tax dollars being used to pay for elective abortion procedures. A decade of annual polling on abortion by Marist, the polling company for the Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and Thomson Reuters/McClatchy, shows that a majority of Americans oppose using tax dollars for abortion, whether it’s done in the United States or overseas. According to this year’s poll, 60 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion procedures. The poll also found that six in 10 women oppose this use of taxpayer funds.

These facts didn’t stop proponents of an abortion-on-demand agenda from attacking the policy. A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood called it “deadly.” But the policy is truly life-affirming, ensuring that women and their unborn babies have access to NGOs that provide them with comprehensive health care, not enterprises that run on profits from abortions.

As the Mexico City Policy goes into full effect, Marie Stopes International and Planned Parenthood have chosen to forgo receiving U.S. foreign aid dollars so that they can continue peddling abortions overseas, showing where their priorities truly lie. These two organizations, though touting themselves as women’s health-care providers, have elected to cease providing women with health care rather than provide that care without access to abortion. This decision shows that these organizations elevate abortion over life-saving medical care.

Marie Stopes and Planned Parenthood are in a very small minority of organizations that prioritize abortion over women’s health. According to data found in a recent State Department report, of the 733 organizations that receive U.S. funding for health care, just four groups — including the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International — refused to comply with the terms of the policy.

Americans United for Life applauds the reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City Policy. American taxpayers deserve to know that they are funding aid that helps people in impoverished nations to live healthy lives, not ends new ones. And women around the world deserve medical care from health organizations that put their health, not abortion, first.

If they really want to be women’s health-care providers, Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International should look to the other 729 organizations that have agreed to the terms of the policy as examples. Until then, they will be nothing more than fringe abortion activists.

Catherine Glenn Foster is President and CEO of Americans United for Life.

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