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U.S. announces new restrictions on foreign aid for abortions

The U.S. will further clamp down on the use of foreign aid for non-governmental organisations that support abortions or work with groups that help women access the medical service, an official said.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on Tuesday said this as he announced new limitations on the use of federal government funds in Washington.

“We can continue to meet our critical global health goals… while refusing to subsidize the killing of unborn babies,” Pompeo said.

He said the new measures would include “strict prohibition on back door schemes” meant to help funnel money to organisations working on women’s health and that support abortions.

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Pompeo is a Christian conservative and has been facing lobbying by right-wing groups on the abortion issue in Latin America.

U.S. President Donald Trump, upon taking office, reversed regulations that were in place during the Obama administration to reimpose the so-called Mexico City Policy, which prohibits organisations receiving U.S. money from even using non-U.S. funding for abortions.

Critics call the policy the “global gag rule’’ as it not only limits what organisations can do with their own money, but also places restrictions on the types of conversations health care providers can have with patients.

Human Rights Watch, a lobby group, warned already in 2018 that Trump was applying the rule not only to the tens of millions of dollars the U.S. gives to family planning programmes but to the more than 8 billion dollars the U.S. donates to global health issues.

Trump has further been criticised at the UN for supporting conservative, non-democratic states, who oppose using the international organisation for gay rights and key women’s health issues.

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