Evaluating the Mexico City Policy: Unintended Consequences in Ghana
The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the unintended consequences of the Mexico City Policy in Ghana. The Mexico City Policy is a USAID policy that withholds funding from all foreign NGOs that provide abortion services, promote abortion as a form of family planning, or advocate for the legalization of abortion. The policy's stated intent is to reduce abortion incidence, but there is substantial qualitative evidence that the policy has other adverse consequences on women's health. The literature currently contains only two quantitative studies, which both evaluate the policy's effect upon abortion rates. This study's focus on unintended effects will contribute to the literature by providing a more complete picture of the policy's effects on population program goals. Using 1998 and 2007 Ghana DHS data, I examine the effect of the Mexico City Policy on access to modern contraceptive methods, prenatal care, and delivery assistance. Using two phases of the policy's historical shifts, I hold constant personal, wealth, and environmental characteristics to isolate the effect of the policy and draw conclusions about its unintended effects and the resulting policy implications. The findings of this study provide empirical evidence substantiating the policy's unintended adverse effects upon access to health services, and suggest that these effects might confound both the policy's original intent and the effectiveness of all population aid in Ghana.
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