US abortion policy in Mexico City

The so – called Mexico City Policy (which is named after the City of Mexico as the name of the place where it was announced, and which is also known by its critics with the name of Global Gag Rule or Global Gag Rule 1 ) is a political government flashing the United States stipulating that all non – governmental organizations ( NGOs ) that receive federal funds must not promote or perform services related to abortion in other countries. 2

This norm is a critical point in the debate on abortion and its legal treatment in different countries. While the republican administrations adopt it, the democratic administrations cancel it.

Established and maintained by Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush , this policy was in force from 1984 to January 1993 (Democratic President Bill Clinton abrogated it ); It was reinstituted in January 2001when Republican President George W. Bush took office, and was canceled again 23 of January of 2009 , shortly after Democratic President Barack Obama swore office. In January 2017 Republican President Donald Trump reinstated the so-called Mordaza Globlal Act . 2

History of Mexico City Policy

Its name comes from the headquarters of the International Conference on Population of the United Nations of 1984 , which was Mexico City , and in which this policy was made known. The “Mexico City policy” was established in the United States by President Ronald Reagan that same year. Its final aspects were negotiated by Alan Keyes , who was Assistant Secretary of State.

After Mexico City Policy was instituted, NGOs were required to adopt their specific conditions so that they could seek federal funding from the United States and as a result, several international family planning agencies were unable to continue receiving A portion of its funding. The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) did not alter its operations and lost more than 20% of its total budget. Other family planning organizations such as the Association of Family Guide Ethiopia did not make the changes required by the ‘Mexico City Policy’ and the grants were canceled them.

Maintained by George Bush , Democratic President Bill Clinton reversed this policy 22 as January as 1993 . He said the rule was “too broad or indefinite,” and said that it had “undermined great efforts to promote safe and effective family planning programs in foreign nations.”

The 22 of January of 2001 , Republican President George W. Bush reinstated the policy by executive order stating: ” It is my conviction that the money people pay taxes is not used to pay for abortions, defend or promote them , both here and abroad. Therefore, I believe that the “Mexico City Policy” must be reinstated.

In September 2007 Barbara Boxer , a senator from the state of California , introduced an amendment designed to lift the financing conditions imposed by Mexico City Policy. This amendment was passed with a majority of 53 to 41. George W. Bush said he would veto any legislation that could eliminate Mexico City Policy.

The law was again canceled the 23 of January of 2009 , shortly after Democratic President Barack Obama took office.

The nature of this policy has had implications for NGOs in almost all countries , such as South Africa . Even if some NGOs did not support abortion, it was illegal for women not to report their rights to a woman seeking abortion.

Scope of the policy

This policy stipulated, as a requirement for non-governmental organizations, to “accept, as a condition of receiving funding from the United States federal government, not to actively engage in abortion as a method of family planning in other countries”. 3 This policy had exceptions for abortions performed in cases of rape , incest or life-threatening conditions. 4

From the legal point of view, the rule is “unsafe” and subject to great discretion. “Performing an abortion” is a precise concept, but it is neither “actively promoting” or “as a method of family planning”.


  1. Back to top↑ Pathfinder International : Advocacy: Resources: Fact Sheets: Global Gag Rule
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b Escudero, Emi (January 25, 2017). “Trump re-establishes the ‘Global Gag Law’ with dire consequences .” . Accessed January 25, 2017 .
  3. Back to top↑ Bush, George. W. (January 22, 2001). Restoration of the Mexico City Policy . Accessed September 29, 2007.
  4. Back to top↑ Cincotta, RP & Crane, BB (2001). The Mexico City Policy and US Family Planning Assistance . Science , 294 (5542), 525-526. Retrieved September 29, 2007.