DID THE MEXICO CITY POLICY AFFECT PREGNANCY OUTCOMES IN ETHIOPIA? THE IMPACT OF U.S. POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAMS
Tibone, Katherine L.
de Brauw, Alan
Announced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 as an executive order, the Mexico City Policy (MCP) is driven by ideological beliefs that U.S. taxpayer dollars should not support overseas family planning activities which attempt to discuss, promote, refer, or perform abortions. The policy's main goal was to reduce the number of abortions worldwide by attaching conditionality to U.S. foreign assistance. This conditionality reduced the amount of funding international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could receive if they did not agree to the policy. Using a regression discontinuity design that takes advantage of the fact that the MCP was reinstated by President Bush in 2001 and was repealed by President Obama in 2009, this paper analyzes whether the policy had an impact on the rate of abortions in Ethiopia. The paper finds statistically significant evidence that indicates women are less likely to have an induced abortion when the MCP was in effect, and subsequently more abortions when the MCP was repealed. While this may seem sufficient proof that the MCP had the intended effect of reducing abortions in Ethiopia, I also find there is high measurement error in the data, causing significant bias that render these results inconclusive as to the true impact of the policy on women's health in Ethiopia.