WASHINGTON – Since taking office nearly 100 days ago, President Donald Trump and his administration have provided the right-to-life movement with several major victories says the National Right to Life Committee, the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters. Those key victories include restoration of the Mexico City Policy, directing funding away from the United Nations Population Fund, and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.
“Donald Trump ran as a pro-life candidate and pledged he would have a pro-life administration, and he has made good on his word,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “President Trump remains steadfast in his pro-life position, and we are excited by his pro-life accomplishments in his first 100 days in office. I have no doubt that President Trump’s leadership on behalf of the pro-life cause will continue to not only save lives of the unborn, but help pave the way for generations to come.”
MEXICO CITY POLICY
On January 23, President Trump took action to restore the so-called “Mexico City Policy,” a policy that had been in place in Republican administrations since 1984, when it was announced by authority of President Reagan at an international population control conference in Mexico City. Under that policy, in order to be eligible for certain types of foreign aid, a private organization must sign a contract promising not to perform abortions (except to save the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest), not to lobby to change the abortion laws of host countries, or otherwise “actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.”
On April 4, the Trump Administration reinstated a policy directing United States foreign assistance dollars away from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on the basis that its activities in China are complicit with that nation’s coercive population control program, the implementation of which includes forced abortion and involuntary sterilization. United States funding will be directed instead to other family planning and health programs not involved in China’s population control program.
On April 7, by a 54-45 vote, the United States Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch as associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, filling the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016. As National Right to Life’s Tobias observed when Gorsuch was confirmed, “Judge Gorsuch appears to believe that judges are constrained to enforce the text and original intent of constitutional provisions, and on all other matters should defer to democratically elected lawmakers – this heartens us, and alarms those who have relied on activist judges to impose their radical pro-abortion policies.”
On April 13, 2017, President Trump signed into law H. J. Res 43 dealing with Title X and Planned Parenthood. Title X of the Public Health Service Act is a major federal “family planning” program. In 2016, the Obama Administration issued a regulation to prevent individual states from directing funds from Title X away from providers deemed unsuitable, such as Planned Parenthood. Under a law called the Congressional Review Act, Congress has the power to nullify such agency regulations under certain circumstances. H.J.Res. 43, now Pub. Law No. 115-23 restores the previous authority of states to direct Title X funds to the providers that they deem suitable.
In addition to key policy victories, President Trump has surrounded himself with pro-life advocates in his administration and cabinet including Senior Counsellor Kellyanne Conway, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
OTHER LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES
In advance of a January vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7), a bill that would codify the principles of the Hyde Amendment on a permanent, government-wide basis, the White House issued a statement affirming that President Trump “would sign the bill.” The Senate has not yet taken action.
Additionally, during his campaign for the presidency, Trump expressed support for other National Right to Life legislative priorities including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and directing funding away from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. In a September 2016 letter to pro-life leaders, he noted that “I am committed to…defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and re-allocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women.
Tobias added, “This is a great time for the right-to-life movement, and we take heart in knowing that the Trump Administration will continue its work to defend and protect the fundamental right to life in the United States.”