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Sen. Mike Lee seeks law to ban aid for groups that promote abortion overseas

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, meets with House Republicans during their caucus at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 1, 2019.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, meets with House Republicans during their caucus at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 1, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee has introduced legislation prohibiting the availability of foreign aid to organizations that provide or promote abortions.

The Utah Republican Protecting Life in Foreign Assistance Act would put into law an executive order President Donald Trump issued in 2017.

“The administration’s ban on funding overseas organizations that promote abortion has already saved and will continue to save countless lives across the globe,” Lee said, adding his bill would save more lives.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan first instituted the Mexico City Policy, prohibiting the availability of family planning foreign assistance funds to organizations that provide abortions, promote or counsel for abortions, or advocate to change abortion laws in a foreign country.

Since then, the policy has been rescinded and reinstated as presidential administrations change.

Trump reinstated the policy, renamed the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy, to ban any foreign aid from being granted to groups that perform abortions or promote abortion. The State Department also expanded the policy by refusing to fund foreign nongovernmental organizations that give money to other foreign NGOs engaged in abortion.

More than 20 Republican senators are co-sponsoring Lee’s bill. Companion legislation was introduced in the House.