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

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girls and women will suffer if sexual and reproductive health services that provide vital support to them are withdrawn or cut back as a consequence of the Mexico City Policy.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.