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House Democrats move to permanently restore funding for abortion access abroad

House Democrats move to permanently restore funding for abortion access abroad
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House Democrats are working to repeal restrictions imposed by the Trump administration that block U.S. foreign aid from helping fund programs that provide women access to an abortion as part of a $66 billion spending bill.

The proposal, part of the House Appropriations Committee's annual State and Foreign Operations bill, would permanently repeal the Trump administration’s “Global Gag Rule,” also known as the Mexico City Policy, that prevents any U.S. funding from going to any international organization that acknowledges abortion as a possible treatment.

The move is part of the Global HER Act, introduced by Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyThis week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Congress set for chaotic year-end sprint Protect America's houses of worship in year-end appropriations package MORE (D-N.Y.) in February, and would also prohibit current and past funds from being used under the banner of the Mexico City Policy.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE has thrown his support behind the anti-abortion movement as part of his appeal to his base of conservative and religious voters. He was the first sitting president to speak at the annual March for Life rally in Washington in January, which calls for ending all access to abortions.

He reinstated the Mexico City Policy in 2017 and expanded its prohibitions to ban funding for any organization that supports or participates in the “management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political advocacy arm of the family planning clinic, argues the ban overextends its reach to block funding for organizations that provide information, referrals or services for legal abortions, including advocating for access.

The appropriations bill also increases assistance for funding international organizations focused on family planning and the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, the U.N. Population Fund, known as UNFPA.

Democrats on the committee are proposing $750 million for family planning and UNFPA, an increase of $175 million from the previous years budget, and $513 million above Trump’s request.

They also are calling for $2.64 billion to improve programs for maternal and child health and to fight infectious diseases — representing an increase of $4 million from the previous year and $719 million more than the Trump administration’s proposal.

The whole State and Foreign Operations bill proposes an increase of nearly $8.5 billion in funding compared to the 2020 budget, for a total of $65.87 billion.