Background: The Mexico City Policy (MCP) provides that no U.S. population assistance funds can be given to a nongovernmental organization unless it certifies that it will not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning. The MCP is so named because it was first announced by the Reagan Administration at a population conference in Mexico City in 1984. The policy was in effect until overturned by President Clinton on January 22, 1993.
On January 22, 2001, President Bush issued an executive memorandum directing the Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to reinstate the MCP in full. On August 29, 2003, the president extended the MCP to cover population funds not only at USAID but in all programs under the U.S. State Department.
Abortion advocates in Congress have been seeking ways to negate President Bush’s reinstatement of the MCP. In 2003 and 2005, the Senate approved amendments sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that would prohibit the application of the MCP funding eligibility requirements, overriding the MCP. The Boxer Amendment did not become law.
For more information on legislative action related to the MCP, see in this report the “Mexico City Policy” section under Appropriations Bills.
House: On May 17, 2007, Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) introduced the Ensuring Access to Contraceptives Act (H.R. 2367). The measure had 22 cosponsors and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. No further action was taken.
This measure would overturn the MCP. Nongovernmental organizations receiving U.S. funds for family planning in foreign countries could use their own funds in the same way that foreign governments who receive U.S. funds for family planning can use their own funds. With respect to U.S. foreign aid funding for family planning programs, private nongovernmental organizations would be put on same footing as foreign governments. Also, in addition to all other authorizations for international family planning programs, the bill authorizes $150 million for Fiscal Year 2008 and the same amount for Fiscal Year 2009. These monies would be called the “Reproductive Health Supplies Fund.”
In 2006, the same measure (H.R. 4736) was introduced in the House. No further action was taken.