Politics & Policy
"Mexico City" Policy Affecting International Clinics, Hurting HIV/AIDS Prevention Efforts, Report Says
September 25, 2003
The so-called "Mexico City" policy, which prevents federal funding from going to foreign family planning groups that provide any abortion-related services, has forced the closure of some clinics in developing countries and has hurt HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, according to a report released on Wednesday by Population Action International, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and IPAS, with assistance from EngenderHealth and Pathfinder International, Reuters reports. The report, titled "Access Denied: U.S. Restrictions on International Family Planning," surveyed clinics in Ethiopia, Kenya, Romania and Zambia. "Health services have been scaled back and closings of reproductive health clinics have left some communities with no health care provider," the groups said in a statement. In addition, many men and women do not have access to contraceptives that can help prevent unwanted pregnancies and HIV infection because of clinic closures, according to the report (Fox, Reuters, 9/23). The Mexico City policy -- which was originally implemented by President Reagan at a population conference in Mexico City in 1984, removed by President Clinton and reinstated by President Bush on the first day of his presidency -- bars U.S. money from international groups that support abortion, even with their own money, through direct services, counseling or lobbying activities. Bush last month issued an executive order that prevents the State Department from giving family planning grants to international groups that provide abortion-related counseling, effectively extending the Mexico City policy, which previously applied only to USAID. However, the new order exempts agencies in Africa and the Caribbean that would benefit from Bush's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 9/2).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.