Global Health Legislative & Policy Requirements

Speeches Shim

Revocation of the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) Policy

(previously known as the Mexico City Policy)

On January 28, 2021, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum revoking the January 23, 2017, Presidential Memorandum (The Mexico City Policy), thereby rescinding the PLGHA Policy. The PLGHA Policy expanded the previous Mexico City Policy to apply to all global health assistance and required foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to agree, as a condition of receiving global health assistance, that they would not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.

The Biden Administration has noted that U.S. global health and development assistance are critical tools for supporting women’s health, access to contraceptives, and gender-based violence prevention and response programs, and for working with local partners around the world to confront serious health challenges such as maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, among others. USAID is strongly committed to addressing these global challenges.

USAID is taking all steps necessary to implement the Presidential Memorandum, including removing the PLGHA Standard Provision from agreements and updating resource materials. As of the date of the Presidential Memorandum, the requirements in the standard provision, “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” are no longer in effect for USAID prime awards and all existing and future subawards.

Press Statement by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Prioritizing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy

Press Statement by Acting Administrator Gloria Steele: USAID Welcomes President Biden’s Commitment to Women and Children

Legislative Restrictions

Since the enactment of legislation in 1973, there have been restrictions on using U.S. foreign assistance funds for abortion-related activities. USAID takes these restrictions very seriously and works with Missions and partners to ensure compliance in their programs.

The Helms Amendment

No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.

Spanish [PDF, 19KB], French [PDF, 19KB]

Under the Helms Amendment, post-abortion care is permitted. USAID post-abortion care programs include emergency treatment for complications of induced or spontaneous abortion, counseling on and provision of family planning options, and community mobilization.

Sources: Section 104(f) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended; Annual Foreign Operations Appropriations Acts.

The Leahy Amendment

The term "motivate," as it relates to family planning assistance, shall not be construed to prohibit the provision, consistent with local law, of information or counseling about all pregnancy options.

Source: Annual Foreign Operations Appropriations Acts.

The Siljander Amendment

No foreign assistance funds may be used to lobby for or against abortion.

Source: Annual Foreign Operations Appropriations Acts.

The Biden Amendment

No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for any biomedical research which relates, in whole or in part, to methods of, or the performance of, abortions or involuntary sterilization as a means of family planning.

Sources: Section 104(f) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended; Annual Foreign Operations Appropriations Acts.

Additional Resources

For Assistance Awards (Cooperative Agreements and Grants):

For Contracts:

Other resources:

Last updated: February 04, 2021

Share This Page