subscribe btndonate btn

Monday, 16 December 2019 20:25

US funds still being used to promote abortion abroad

Written by

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 13 (C-Fam) On Tuesday, pro-abortion organization Ipas celebrated Human Rights Day by asking its followers to share a graphic on social media declaring abortion to be a human right.  Similarly, in a promotional email, the Center for Reproductive Rights boasted of “monumental gains” in “securing the right to abortion as a human right over the past several decades.”

While there is no internationally recognized human right to abortion, powerful and well-funded abortion advocates have been working tirelessly to create such a right, asserting all the while that it already exists.

The U.S. under President Trump has repeatedly asserted that abortion is not a human right while opposing language in UN resolutions that includes abortion, including euphemistic language such as “reproductive health” and “reproductive rights.”

The Trump administration has also taken a strong stance against funding the international abortion lobby with U.S. taxpayer dollars, most notably by reinstating and expanding the Mexico City Policy under the name Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA).  This policy blocks U.S. funding to foreign organizations that provide or promote abortion.  Additionally, the Helms Amendment has, since 1973, blocked U.S. funding from directly being used to promote or provide abortions in foreign countries. Nevertheless, the fight to take U.S. funding out of abortion is an uphill battle, and loopholes remain.

Perhaps most significantly, PLGHA only applies to foreign-based organizations, while U.S. funding still flows to domestic organizations that promote abortion globally.

Organizations including Population Services International, Pathfinder International, and the Population Council receive millions of dollars a year from the U.S. government under the banner of global health, despite being involved in promoting abortion around the world.  Another U.S.-based grantee, receiving $2.2 million last year, is Womancare Global International, a subsidiary of DKT International, which is the “exclusive global distributor and marketer of the Ipas [manual vacuum aspirator] technology in more than 100 countries around the world.”  This device is the most widely used surgical abortion tool around the world.  More recently, Ipas has also incorporated medication-based abortion into its work, characterizing self-induced abortions as a form of “self-care.”

While domestic funding for family planning faces strict requirements separating it from abortion activities, and while under the PLGHA policy, foreign organizations promoting or providing abortions are ineligible for U.S. funding, U.S.-based groups working abroad are comparatively unregulated.  Moreover, some U.S.-based organizations form partnerships with foreign-based groups in order to skirt around PLGHA in practice.

PLGHA also contains an exception in cases of rape and incest and to save the mother’s life, which means that in 27 countries, abortion providers could still retain some funding.

While funding for abortion groups traditionally came from the U.S.’s budget allocation for international family planning, it has since spread into other areas, including global health, humanitarian assistance, HIV/AIDS, and programs aimed at empowering women and girls.  The expanded PLGHA covers all of global health funding, including family planning, but would need to be expanded further to cover all funding streams the abortion lobby has sought to infiltrate.

Meanwhile, on the legislative front, Congress faces a battle to pass its year-end foreign operations funding bill, due in large part to the abortion controversy.  Democratic members of Congress have proposed amendments repealing PLGHA, increasing the family planning budget, and creating restrictions on grant-making that might exclude faith-based organizations that do not support sexual orientation and gender identity as nondiscrimination categories.  President Trump has previously promised to veto any bill that strips away pro-life protections in foreign assistance.


Rebecca Oas, PhD, writes for C-Fam. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-Fam (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute ( This article appears with permission.



C-Fam was founded in the summer of 1997 in order to monitor and affect the social policy debate at the United Nations and other international institutions. C-Fam is a non-partisan, non-profit research institute dedicated to reestablishing  a proper understanding of international law, protecting national sovereignty and the dignity of the human person. C-Fam personnel have participated in every major UN social policy debate since 1997 including the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court, the Convention on Disabilities, Cairo+5, Beijing+5 and dozens of others.