According to a new study, the controversial US Mexico City Policy (MCP) has likely caused thousands of new HIV infections and child deaths annually.

The 1984 US policy, introduced by President Ronald Reagan, bans US funding to foreign organisations that provide or even discuss abortion.

Since then every Democratic President has revoked the policy and every Republican President has re-invoked the policy. 

The study in the Journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that the policy is estimated to have led to 90,000 new HIV infections and 30,000 maternal and child deaths per year.

Rule Makes It Harder For Women To Get Information

According to the study, “Our analysis shows that the MCP makes it harder for women to get information on and support for reproductive health and is associated with higher maternal and child mortality rates and HIV rates worldwide.

“We estimate that reinstating the MCP between 2017 and 2021 resulted in approximately 108,000 maternal and child deaths and 360,000 new HIV infections.”

Bocconi University assistant political science professor Kerim Can Kavakli, one of the authors of the study states that the countries more dependent on the US for foreign aid are the countries that experienced a higher rate of maternal and child mortality and HIV infections.

“We claim that the relationship is due to the deterioration of services for pregnant women, newborns and people who seek family planning services,” Kavakli said.

He went on to say, “It’s another reason to not only speak to US policymakers about lifting gags but also to non-American decision-makers: if a gag rule is coming, help aid recipients ride it out.”

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