Position statement on reproductive health services: Mexico City Policy puts girls’ health at risk

April 9, 2019
April 9, 2019

Updated March 15, 2022

AN UPDATE REGARDING PLAN INTERNATIONAL'S POSITION ON MEXICO CITY POLICY

Plan International is extremely disappointed by today’s Congressional action for failing to more permanently end U.S. government efforts to restrict access to reproductive health and rights around the world through the so-called Mexico City Policy (MCP[1]). While the MCP was repealed last year by President Biden through Executive Order, today’s legislation should have meant means that MCP can no longer be reinstated by a future president acting alone.

The negative impact the MCP has inflicted on the lives of millions of vulnerable girls and women across the world since the Reagan Administration is well documented. In fact, the State Department’s own study from August 2020 confirmed what global health organizations and advocates have known for years: the MCP disrupts access to health services. The report clearly outlines disruptions in care spanning global health programs, including for HIV/AIDS, family planning and reproductive health, tuberculosis and nutrition.

Furthermore a Stanford University study found the MCP does not even meet its own goals, stating that there is “a substantial increase in abortions among women affected by the U.S. Mexico City Policy.” In addition, it causes vulnerable girls and women to suffer as a result of vital sexual and reproductive health services being withdrawn.

Quality sexual and reproductive health care services and information can transform the lives of girls and women, as well as their communities. The wider benefits of these services are helping pull millions out of poverty. Lack of access to sexual and reproductive health care services and information has broad implications that go beyond health, often impacting girls’ and young women’s educational opportunities and career prospects.

Plan’s experience shows that comprehensive sexuality education and access to quality contraceptive services can significantly improve girls’ and women’s lives. With this goal in mind, for the last five years, Plan supported the prohibition of the MCP by law, thus preventing future presidents from reinstating it on their own through executive orders. Plan will continue to support these efforts through the budget process and the Global HER Act, which passed the House of Representatives last year.

 

 

[1] Also known as the Global Gag Rule

 


 

April 9, 2019

Plan International is concerned about the impact the January 2017 expansion of the Mexico City Policy and its recently announced strict enforcement will have on the lives of millions of vulnerable girls and women across the world. On March 26th, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration will withhold funding from foreign nongovernmental organizations that in turn fund foreign groups that perform abortions. Mr. Pompeo also said the government was “fully enforcing” a law that prohibits groups from using United States aid to lobby on abortion issues. Aggressive enforcement of the law would lead to a further reduction in services for women’s sexual and reproductive health. 

Quality sexual and reproductive health care services and information can transform the lives of girls and women, as well as their communities. The wider benefits of these services are helping pull millions out of poverty.

Lack of access to sexual and reproductive health care services and information has broad implications that go beyond health, and is likely to impact girls’ and young women’s educational opportunities and career prospects.

Girls need education, information, and quality services

We recognize the importance of preventing unintended pregnancy through the provision of comprehensive sexuality education including accurate information on contraceptives as well as access to quality contraceptive services (including emergency contraception) for all girls and women.

Our experience shows that comprehensive sexuality education and access to quality contraceptive services can significantly improve girls’ and women’s life chances, including their survival and survival of their children.

Vulnerable girls need support

Unintended pregnancies are often a consequence of violations of girls’ and women’s fundamental rights. Millions of vulnerable girls and women will suffer if sexual and reproductive health services that provide vital support to them are withdrawn or cut back as a consequence of the Mexico City Policy.

Promoting health for all and achieving gender equality are at the heart of the Global Goals. Mexico City Policy could have unintended consequences when it comes to achieving targets related to reducing global maternal mortality rates and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services. Denying funding to vital health care provisions will also undermine investments to end extreme poverty and promote economic and social development.