How will the reinstated Mexico City Policy impact Peace Corps Programs?

We don’t know. It is complicated.

President Trump has reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy on abortion, first announced by President Reagan in 1984. My understanding is that the Reagan Memorandum applied to non-governmental organizations, which received US funding. President Trump’s Memorandum expanded to include all departments or agencies.

Wikipedia describes Reagan’s policy:
The policy requires non-governmental organizations to “agree as a condition of their receipt of [U.S.] federal funds” that they would “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations”.[11] The policy has exceptions for abortions done in response to rapeincest, or life-threatening conditions (

Here is the link to Reagan’s original policy statement:

On January 27, 2017, President Trump expanded the policy:

“I direct the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to the extent allowable by law, to implement a plan to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.” (

On May 15, 2017, Secretary of State Tillerson complied and the Department of State provided this fact sheet:

May 15, 2017 – On January 23, 2017, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum reinstating the 2001 Presidential Memorandum on the “Mexico City Policy,” and directing the Secretary of State to implement a plan to extend the Mexico City Policy to “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.”

Secretary Tillerson has approved a plan, called “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” to implement the manner in which U.S. Government Departments and Agencies will apply the provisions of the Mexico City Policy to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. funding for global health assistance.

Under this expanded policy, “global health assistance” includes funding for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security, and family planning and reproductive health.

Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance applies to global health assistance to, or implemented by, foreign NGOs, including those to which a U.S. NGO makes a sub-award with such assistance funds. Global health assistance to national or local governments, public international organizations, and other similar multilateral entities is not subject to this policy. Also excluded is humanitarian assistance, including State Department migration and refugee-assistance activities, USAID disaster and humanitarian-relief activities, and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) disaster and humanitarian relief.

Once all appropriate steps have been taken, the policy will apply to all new funding agreements (grants, cooperative agreements and contracts) for global health assistance, and to existing agreements when amended to add funding.

All foreign NGOs will have the opportunity to receive global health assistance awards if they indicate their agreement to abide by the terms of Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance by accepting the provisions in their award.

Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance does not reduce the amount of global health assistance the U.S. Government makes available, and funding previously obligated will not be affected as a result of this policy. Given the expansive nature of the new policy, the Department will undertake a thorough and comprehensive review of the effectiveness and impact of the policy’s application over the next six months, which could include identifying implementation issues, and any other new information affecting implementation going forward. Newly covered programs, including PEPFAR, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and other global health programs, will be given special attention under this review.

The United States remains deeply committed to supporting health programs around the world.”

This agency review process will be done over the next six months. When the reviews are completed, the new policy details will be published in the Federal Register and should be available for public comment.  We hope to post that information as it becomes available.

Here are two sources that analyze the possible impact of the Presidential Memorandum:

Population Research Institute published, “State Department announces New Plan to Dramatically Expand Mexico City Policy, Defund Pro-Abortion Organizations.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation published “The Mexico City Policy: An Explainer:


*Please note: This posting is a follow up and more detailed then the article” What Will President Trump’s Reinstatement of the So-Called “Gag Order” mean for Serving Peace Corps Volunteers?

January 27, 2017



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