Background

Impact of mexico city policy

At the moment organisations are trying to give an overview of the effects of the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy. Marie Stopes International (MSI), one of the affected organisations, has indicated that losing US funding for MSI-operations in the period 2017-2020 is expected to lead to an additional:

  • 6,5 mln unintended pregnancies
  • 2,2 mln abortions
  • 2,1 mln unsafe abortions
  • 21.700 maternal deaths.

President Reagan first instated the Mexico City Policy in 1984, during the International Conference on Population held in Mexico City. Since then, the policy has been revoked by each incoming Democratic President and reinstated by each incoming Republican President.

The Mexico City Policy requires foreign organisations to certify that they will not provide access to safe abortion or even information about abortion, funded by any source. This is a precondition for receiving U.S. funding. Many of these organisations provide lifesaving access to family planning services and information, maternal and neonatal health care, and HIV prevention and treatment. The Mexico City Policy will therefore negatively affect the provision of all these services.

The Mexico City Policy comes on top of the Helms Amendment, in place in the U.S. since 1974. This Amendment states that no U.S. 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. However, under the Helms Amendment, organisations are still allowed to perform these activities using funds from other sources.

Over the past years, U.S. Government international assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs has amounted to around USD 600 million on an annual basis, making it among other possible for 27 million women and couples to access contraceptive services and supplies (source: Guttmacher Institute). Since 2010, the total budget of U.S. global health assistance was around USD 10 billion. This is also the requested budget for 2017.

The current U.S. President has broadened the scope of the Mexico City Policy. In the past, non-US organisations only had to adhere to the Mexico City Policy if they received funding from the family planning assistance budget. Now, the policy will apply to all US global health assistance to foreign organisations. The exact impact of the current Mexico City Policy is still unknown and will be monitored. She Decides will not involve itself in any way in the communication between organisations that may be affected and their U.S. Government financiers.