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Ignoring Evidence-Based Science Could Undermine U.S. Ability To Support Global Development, Waste Resources

NEJM: The Perils of Trumping Science in Global Health — The Mexico City Policy and Beyond
Nathan C. Lo, student in the Division of Epidemiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine; and Michele Barry, senior associate dean of global health and director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University

“…The reinstatement of the Mexico City policy is a stark example of ‘evidence-free’ policymaking that ignores the best scientific data, resulting in a policy that harms global health and, ultimately, the American people. … In addition to increasing abortion rates, the reinstatement of the Mexico City policy is likely to result in increases in maternal deaths and will endanger children’s health around the world. By restricting access to modern contraception, the policy will lead to preventable deaths from pregnancy-related complications, increased reliance on unsafe abortions, and higher rates of unsafe sex … [C]reating policies that are not based on rigorous scientific evidence can have substantial costs — a particular concern when there is a limited budget with which to achieve effective global development. The decision to ignore data when crafting foreign aid strategies can jeopardize the mission of U.S. foreign policy to help ensure economic and geopolitical security. The Mexico City policy is but one of many foreign aid decisions that the Trump administration will have to make to guide our country and the world. Ineffective foreign aid policies that ignore basic scientific analysis will undermine our ability to support global development, waste valuable resources, and ultimately hurt the American people” (2/22).

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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.