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What You Need to Know About the Mexico City Policy Restrictions on U.S. Family Planning Assistance


On January 22, 2001 — his second day in office — President George W. Bush announced the reinstatement of the restrictions on overseas health care organizations in effect during the mid-1980s and early 1990s, commonly known as the “Mexico City Policy.” The policy reversal has had serious ramifications for U.S. support for international family planning and reproductive health programs around the world.

The restrictions prohibit U.S. family planning assistance from being provided to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that use funding from any other source to perform abortion in cases other than a threat to the life of the woman, rape or incest; to provide counseling and referral for abortion; or to lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their own country.

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