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Mexico City Policy Could Reverse Global Health Progress Worldwide

Washington Post: The ‘global gag rule’ on abortion just got much bigger — and much worse
Editorial Board

“…The consequences [of the Mexico City policy] will be catastrophic. Developing countries have spent the past decade revamping their health systems so patients can get many types of care in one place. That means organizations will have to choose between abandoning clients in need of abortions and losing the funding they need to fight tuberculosis, malaria, and more. PEPFAR’s inclusion will deal a heavy blow to HIV prevention efforts, and may turn back one of the program’s greatest successes: a decrease in mother-to-child transmission. Worse still, judging from past experience, the policy may not even achieve its aim. … The few exceptions to the policy, such as for humanitarian assistance and relief, are a thin silver lining in the cloud the United States has cast over the globe. The same goes for the State Department’s promise that the amount of global health assistance the United States provides will not change — only who receives it. Those dollars simply will not go as far if, for example, State hands them out to U.S.-based global health organizations, which are not covered under the policy, instead of their indigenous partners, which could use the funds not only to address present crises but also to equip their communities to manage future ones. … For years, the United States has led the way in building a healthier world. It is up to lawmakers to stop the president from reversing that progress” (5/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.