Wyoming Congresswoman and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined 135 of her fellow Republicans in signing a letter to President Joe Biden that challenges him to reconsider his decision to discontinue the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy, also know as the Mexico City policy.

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This policy, when it was in place, prevented taxpayer money from funding abortions in other countries.

According to the letter that was drafted by Republicans, the PLGHA policy was first established in 1984 by the Reagan administration as the ‘Mexico City Policy,’ and it required that foreign non-governmental organizations agree, as a condition of receiving federal funding, to not promote, lobby for, or perform abortions.

Former president Donald Trump reinstated the policy in 2017 and applied it to all global health funds. Time Magazine reports that while the policy primarily focuses on limiting U.S. support for abortions, it also affected sexual and reproductive health services and that it has stopped or reduced U.S.-funded HIV programs as well.

Serra Sippel, the President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) said that the expansions of the PLGHA restricted the work of various organizations.

“That means you have HIV programs, you have family planning, maternal health, and water and sanitation – these programs are all integrated,” Sippel told Time Magazine.

Time also reports that the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) was one of the few major NGO’s that simply refused funding from the United States, rather than accepting the PLGHA policy. IPPF estimated that it lost close to $100 million, which they said could have prevented 4.8 million unintended pregnancies, provided 725,000 HIV tests and treated 525,000 sexually transmitted infections.

Biden reversed the policy on January 28th, leading to Cheney and colleagues to write the letter, urging him to reconsider.

This comes just days after Cheney and 196 of her Republican colleagues signed a letter opposing the repeal of the ‘Hyde Amendment,’ a legislative provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape.

Recently, Democrats have “sought to remove the language, arguing it hinders women’s care,” according to The Hill.

Cheney and her fellow Republicans have taken a hard stance on abortion, based on these two letters, the most recent of which stated that, “PLGHA represents common ground: it allows the United States to fund global health without using taxpayer dollars to subsidize the work of groups that perform, promote or lobby for abortion.

"Abortion is not health care. It is never safe for the child: abortion is a brutal procedure that ends the child’s life through suction, dismemberment or chemical poisoning. In addition, the child’s mother deserves better than the tragic, irreversible consequences of elective abortion. United States foreign assistance should be life-affirming: we can support the health of both women and unborn children by providing essential obstetric care, nutritional aid and other humanitarian assistance to persons in need.”

The letter can be seen and read in full here.

 

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