Remarks to the Press

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Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo
March 26, 2019
Press Briefing Room
Washington, D.C.


SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good morning, everyone.  Today I’m making two announcements about the State Department’s ongoing efforts to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars are not used to subsidize or promote abortions.

The first announcement concerns the so-called “Mexico City Policy.”

This Reagan-era directive ensures U.S. taxpayer dollars aren’t used to support foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.

President Trump boldly expanded the Mexico City Policy in 2017.  It now protects every human life impacted by the nearly $9 billion of foreign aid we spend on global health programs each year, and in turn protects more unborn babies around the world than ever before.  This is decent; this is right.  And I’m proud to serve in an administration that protects the least amongst us.

Now, two years into our administration, the vast majority of our implementing partners have agreed to comply with the policy, and they continue to work with us.  This administration has shown that we can continue to meet our critical global health goals, including providing healthcare for women, while refusing to subsidize the killing of unborn babies.

As Secretary of State, I have directed our team to take all appropriate action to implement this policy to the broadest extent possible.  Today I’m announcing further refinements to advance our efforts to protect the least amongst us.

As before, we will continue to refuse to provide assistance to foreign NGOs who perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.

Now, as a result of my decision today, we are also making clear we will refuse to provide assistance to foreign NGOs that give financial support to other foreign groups in the global abortion industry.

We will enforce a strict prohibition on backdoor funding schemes and end-runs around our policy.  American taxpayer dollars will not be used to underwrite abortions.

This brings me to my second announcement.  We are also fully enforcing federal law prohibiting the use of U.S. funds, including foreign assistance, to lobby for or against abortion, otherwise known as the Siljander Amendment.

In light of recent evidence of abortion-related advocacy by an organ of the Organization of American States, I directed my team to include a provision in foreign assistance agreements with the OAS that explicitly prohibits the use of funds to lobby for or against abortion.

The institutions of the OAS should be focused on addressing crises in Cuba, Nicaragua, and in Venezuela, not on advancing the pro-abortion cause.

And to ensure that our message is heard loud and clear, we will reduce our contributions to the OAS.  Our reduction equals the estimated U.S. share of possible OAS expenditures on these abortion-related activities.

The American people should rest assured that this administration – and this State Department, and our USAID – will do all we can to safeguard U.S. taxpayer dollars and protect and respect the sanctity of life for people all around the glob.

QUESTION:  Okay, and then just secondly, on a different – well, not slightly different, a lot different.  Are you disappointed at all that – of the reaction from the UN chief, from Canada, from Turkey and the Gulf states about the – reject – in essence, saying they’re not going to sign on to the Golan recognition, and they don’t – and they are going to uphold the Security Council resolution that found the annexation null and void?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Well, I’m saddened by that but not surprised.  I remember the move to Jerusalem of our embassy as well.  In each case, we’re simply recognizing facts on the ground and the reality and doing the right thing.  We hope those nations will join us to understand how important that is, how right it is, and we are continuing to have conversations with – you mentioned a handful of countries – with each of them about this issue, about our decision and why we believe this is fundamentally the right decision as well.

MR PALLADINO:  Al-Arabiya.  Go ahead, Nadia.

QUESTION:  Thank you.


QUESTION:  Hi, Mr. Secretary.  Just to follow up on the Golan, yesterday Prime Minister Netanyahu said that basically he is entitled to keep it because they won it by war.  Are you setting a precedent that powerful countries can actually overtake land over international law?

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Yes, ma’am, that’s a good question.  The answer is absolutely not.  This is an incredibly unique situation.  Israel was fighting a defensive battle to save its nation, and it cannot be the case that a UN resolution is a suicide pact.  It simply can’t be, and that’s the reality that President Trump recognized in his executive order yesterday.

This translation is provided as a courtesy and only the original English source should be considered authoritative.
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