Trump expands global funding ban tied to abortion, now covering $8.8 billion in foreign aid

President Trump.
(Image credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, as an executive order President Trump signed in January prohibiting U.S. foreign aid for groups that discuss abortion went into effect, senior U.S. officials said the "gag order" will affect $8.8 billion in State Department programs, much more than the roughly $600 million in family planning funds covered by the so-called Mexico City Rule under the George W. Bush administration. Trump's order will block funding for any nongovernmental organization that doesn't pledge to not "promote abortion as a method of family planning" through abortion counseling or referrals, lobbying, or information campaigns, and its impact is expected to be felt hardest in Africa.

The bulk of the funds, $6 billion, are from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, established by Bush in 2003; other hard-hit programs are the anti-malaria initiative started by Bush and expanded by former President Barack Obama, and the United Nations Population Fund, which operates in more than 150 countries and says it doesn't promote abortion. Trump officials say that overall funding won't be cut, but women's health advocates and family planning groups said the expanded order will lead to crucial health centers closing around the world. "It's not like we have an influx of providers in places like West Africa," PAI advocacy director Jonathan Rucks tells The New York Times. "Whole communities could be cut off."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.