Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

Trump Is Reviving the Mexico City Policy, and It’s Not What You Think

Created: 23 January, 2017
Updated: 17 October, 2022
2 min read

A change of political party in the White House brings a lot of expected changes to the presidential administration and its policies no matter who’s in office. Since 1984, there’s been one law, with a rather interesting name, that’s either been repealed or reinstated depending on which party is in charge: the Mexico City Policy.

The policy was announced by the Reagan administration in 1984 during the United Nations International Conference on Population in Mexico City -- hints the name. Reagan signed an executive order implementing the Mexico City Policy the same year.

This policy requires all foreign, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive federal funding from the United States government to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services.

How each president since Reagan has acted on the policy has been in accordance with their party’s position on abortion, as shown in this timeline. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (both Democrats) removed the policy. Now, President Trump has followed in President George W. Bush’s footsteps in reinstating it.

Interesting to note, all four presidents have acted on the executive order in the first few days of their presidency -- making it appear like a high priority for each administration.

So now, any foreign organization that receives or wants to receive grants from the federal government cannot offer abortion services as a medical, or family planning measure, even if the organization has additional contributors or private funding. The law includes all funding recipients, including health care organizations.

Currently, foreign, nonprofit entities and nongovernmental organizations may apply for federal grants when they comply with key requisites that vary depending on the grant.

Grants.gov states:

“Today, the U.S. manages foreign assistance programs in more than 100 countries around the world through the efforts of over 20 different U.S. Government agencies.”

Furthermore, Foreign Assistance shows $34 billion in fiscal aid budgeted for FY 2017, with $9.27 billion directed to Health and $8.3 billion going to Peace and Security. Most of the funds are allocated to African countries, although Afghanistan alone will receive $1.25 billion.

So, $9.27 billion in taxpayer dollars will be used for health care programs around the world, but none of these organization will be able to provide women with abortion services, no matter where their country stands regarding abortion.

Since elected, many have feared how women’s rights might be impacted by Donald Trump’s actions, which was reflected this past Saturday when millions of people took to the streets worldwide for the Women’s March.

It’s yet to be seen how President Trump will impact abortion access for women in the United States, but the Mexico City Policy will have a strong impact on abortion access around the world, and in some of the countries that need it most.

This is one among many of the executive orders that President Trump signed into law in the first four days of his presidency, and it looks like we should expect a lot more in the coming days.

Photo Credit: Gary Blakeley / shutterstock.com