“Gag Rule” Will Increase Abortions

The Mexico City Policy: An Explainer (Gag Rule)

There has been some research and anecdotal information published about the policy’s impact. Most notably, a 2011 quantitative analysis by Bendavid, et. al, found a strong association between the Mexico City Policy and abortion rates in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, the study found that abortion rates rose in countries with high exposure to the Mexico City Policy compared to those with low exposure, while the use of modern contraceptives declined over the same period in high exposure compared to low exposure countries. In other words, it found patterns “suggesting that the Mexico City Policy is associated with increases in abortion rates in sub-Saharan African countries,” likely because foreign NGOs that declined U.S. funding as a result of the Mexico City Policy – often key providers of women’s health services in these areas – had fewer resources to support family planning services, particularly contraceptives.23 Increased access to and use of contraception has been shown to be key to preventing unintended pregnancies and thereby reducing abortion, including unsafe abortion.24

Additionally, there has been anecdotal evidence and qualitative data on the impact of the policy on the work of organizations that have chosen in the past to not agree to the policy and, therefore, forgo U.S. funding that had previously supported their activities.25 For example, they have reported that they have fewer resources to support family planning and reproductive health services, including family planning counseling, contraceptive commodities, condoms, and reproductive cancer screenings.26

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