The Mexico City Policy was first enacted in 1984 by Ronald Reagan and has since been rescinded by Bill Clinton in 1993, reinstituted by George Bush in 2001 and rescinded once again by Barack Obama in 2009. However, Donald Trump has followed the Republican party line and reinstituted the policy, in what some have seen as an gesture of mutual support to the hardline anti-abortion campaigners within the party, including his own vice president Mike Pence.
The policy asserts that “the United States will no longer contribute to separate non-governmental organisations which perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” This includes any organisation that “provides advice, counselling, referrals or information regarding abortion, or lobbies a foreign government to legalise or make abortion available.” As a result, many NGOs which provide vital medical assistance to those most in need, in particular in developing countries, will now either have to abandon all of their operations relating to the promotion and provision of safe abortions which millions of women desperately need, or find a way to continue without US government funding. One group, Marie Stopes International, which after the 2015 Nepalese earthquake administered 2,843 gynaecological checkups and 586 contraceptive implants, say that these operations would have been unachievable without federal funding; funding which they will lose under the Mexico City Policy.
The World Health Organisation reports that more than 18 million women in the developing world experience unsafe abortions each year. Furthermore, 47,000 women each year die from complications of said unsafe abortions. Marie Stopes International, which provides abortion services alongside other healthcare in 37 countries around the world, is just one of hundreds of NGOs which perform vital work to address these issues. All of these organisations will now be ineligible for US government funding, which will at best hamper their operations and at worst end them. Given the urgency for greater education and provision of services in this long overlooked field of healthcare, Trump’s reinstitution of the Mexico City Policy is a huge step back in the fight to tackle what is an ongoing problem throughout the developing world.