Rachna Shah
Feb 25, 2017

The Mexico City Policy


The Mexico City policy, informally known as the global gag rule, was reinstated in late January by President Trump. This policy prevents the US from funding non-governmental organizations that provide or advocate for abortion counseling and other referrals, among other measures. What are your thoughts on this policy? Are you in favor of it or against it?

Feb 25, 2017

I wasn't surprised to see that President Trump reinstated the global gag rule so quickly since the implementation of the policy has been like a game of hot potato with presidents either suspending or reinstating it for the last three decades.


Many women rely on the abortion related services that some foreign NGO's provide in order to live a healthy life both physically and mentally. Due to the loss of U.S. Family Planning Funding these NGO's will experience, abortion will become less safe and birth control will become less accessbile. If these next years are at all resemblant of the past in terms of the effects of rises in less safe abortions and inaccessible birth control methods, we will probably see a rise in the maternal mortality rate in places that rely on these NGO's for abortion services.


I don't think that a small group of men should be able to decide what millions of women, many of whom are not even American, can do with their bodies, or if they can have access to safe medical procedures that they need. The reinstation of the global gag rule was made with pro-life sentiment, however I find that hypocritical considering their decision gambles with the lives of thousands of women all over the world.


What do you guys think about the effects that this will have on women around the world? What do you think we can do to help support women who are affected by this?

Clara Nevins
Feb 26, 2017

I agree with you, Anna. The government does not have a right to decide what women can and cannot do with their bodies.


The global gag rule was a clear statement by President Trump. Here is a really great article by Vox. The article explains the impact of the ruling from the point of view of two people on the ground. http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/27/14397126/global-gag-rule-trump-increase-abortion-reduce-birth-control


If he hasn't made it clear before, our president is not an advocate for women. I believe we need to make our voices loud. We need to stand up for Planned Parenthood and other organizations striving to improve the lives of women in the US and all around the world with our time and our wallets.

Roberto Garcia
Feb 28, 2017

The issue here is that Trump and Pence made very clear from the beginning of the campaign that they were very pro-life. Most likely, this was one of the aspects that made them win the election, moreover if we take into account Clinton's views on this topic during the final Presidential debate.


The election showed that Americans preferred what they had to offer over Clinton's progressive perspective. For this reason, now is time to respect the will of the people, and understand that at this moment, the United States is a pro-life country.

Esther Brito Ruiz
Mar 1, 2017

I regards to the comments made about US public opinion and current policy; while I do understand the importance of the ideas reflected by the vote; this did not represent the majority of the citizens, as the popular vote remained in the hands of the democratic party. This debate is highly controversial; but I do believe we must take into account the fundamental right to body autonomy; applicable in any medical situation. Ultimately, as people, we hold the right to decide. Furthermore, we should take into account how the fact that this is a female-centric issue reflects on the restrictions placed by governments; and how they parralel existing power and priviledge dynamics. Many of the initiatives that plan to take down resources for women that may seek an abortion, are directly conditioning the posibility for any woman to decide, in an issue so central to her life and her body, what medical treatment she can or cannot receive.

Jacqui Guerra
Mar 4, 2017

I don't believe that the fact that President Trump won the election plays a major role in whether or not people should have access to treatments that pertain to their own health. The idea of a "pro-life country" or a "pro-choice country" is not feasible in the context of the United States. There are always going to be people who look down upon abortion, just as there will be people who find it beneficial and necessary. Calling the United States a "pro-choice" nation aligns with the rhetoric of calling it a Christian nation; yes, there could possibly be a majority, but why do we have to adhere to only these people. The point of having a free country is to make America open to people from all walks of life, not just those who voted or or agreed with Trump. If we're choosing to ignore the voices of alleged minorities, how can we say that we're upholding the concept of equality and liberty for all?

Bhavana Ravala
Mar 20, 2017

A huge problem I see with the global gag rule is that it applies to NGOs doing work in developing countries, not just in the United States. I am a Youth Advisory Board member for Plan International USA, which focuses on gender equality in developing countries, and providing abortion counseling is an important part of their work. In developing countries, women get abortions for different reasons than in the United States, and it reproductive health is even more important there than it already is in America. With this rule in place, many global NGOs cannot continue with the work they've been doing for years and helping young girls. Depriving anyone of reproductive health is terrible, but doing it to girls abroad who desperately need it and holding back the development of society as a whole by doing so is worse.

Caroline H.
Apr 4, 2017Edited: Apr 4, 2017

I really appreciate the thoughtful comments on this sensitive topic. First, I agree that women should be responsible for their own bodies. On the other hand, I also believe that once a woman has willingly used her body to create another body, the debate extends beyond her self-interest to include the growing organism.


Of course, as noted in a NY Times article linked below, all conjectures about abortion depend upon one's definition of the word "person;" if an unborn child is a person, then it is clearly unconstitutional to deprive him or her of life. Conversely, if that zygote, embryo, or fetus is not considered a person, the mother is the only one whose "life, liberty, and...happiness" is in question.


The definition of a person issues tremendous moral, religious, legal, philosophical, and scientific debate. Through my personal experience, I have come to believe that an unborn child at any stage is a person. As such, even though I think that abortion is the best option in some circumstances, I do not want my [future] tax dollars to fund abortions indiscriminately. I support the Mexico City policy because I want the freedom of choice to only support organizations whose practices I consider ethical. In addition, citizens who are very passionate about reproductive rights may choose to donate to their cause without compelling me to do so.


* If you would like to learn about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's stance on abortion (or rather, lack thereof), check out this article.

Ana Pau Linas
May 30, 2017

Why is it called "Mexico City Policy"?

On the other hand, after what I have read, such organizations provide among other health services, breast cancer studies and due to this policy, many NGOs have lost funding and thus stopped providing such health services; which in my point of view is wrong. Nevertheless, funding does not assure that an abortion is 100% safe for the woman's body, and does not assure either that she might not have internal wounds that might be deadly in a future.

Rachna Shah
May 30, 2017

@Ana Pau Linas The policy was announced at a UN conference in Mexico City by Reagan in 1984-hence, the Mexico City policy!

New Posts
  • roman nordmun
    4 days ago

    No woman ever got pregnant in order to have an abortion.
  • Vivian
    Jun 29

    I feel like more people have become aware of this thought experiment since a fairly large YouTuber on the left released a video about it a few days ago. (skip to 8:26 for the visual demonstration, tw medical horror) If you can’t watch the video and you’ve never heard of Judith Jarvis Thomson, here’s a summary. (Before that, here’s a link to the Wikipedia summary of the thought experiment. It’s much more comprehensive than mine, and responds to some of the counterarguments I’ll list below in both similar and different ways than I will, so if you’re interested, I recommend giving it a read.) Imagine that you woke up one day and found yourself in a hospital bed, hooked up to a dying legendary violin soloist. A nurse comes in and says that the violinist was in a near fatal accident and is dying of kidney failure. You are currently the only genetic match for them. If you stay hooked up to them for 9 months, their kidneys will be able to recover from the injury, and you can be disconnected from them without significant lasting harm to either of you. However, if you disconnect before then, the violinist’s chances of dying significantly increase based on when you disconnect. The argument is that your bodily autonomy would override the violinist’s right to the use of your body. The creator of the thought experiment, Judith Jarvis Thomson, wants to reframe the debate in terms of the fetus’s right to use of a woman’s body, rather than the fetus’s right to life. Thomson, concedes in this case, for the sake of argument, that the fetus has a right to life equivalent to that of an adult human. However, she still thinks that the fetus does not have a right to the use of the mother’s body, and she thinks that that is what the discussion should be about. Because of this, Thomson doesn't support an unconditional right to abortion (for example, she doesn’t support a woman getting an abortion a bit further down the pregnancy because she scheduled a trip abroad and doesn’t want to postpone it), and also states that in the case of a late-term abortion in which the doctors decide to instead induce pregnancy, the mother has no right to kill the fetus or otherwise prevent it from surviving outside of her womb. For the sake of deepening the discussion, I‘ll list some common counterarguments to the argument above so that we can get them out of the way. 1. The thought experiment doesn’t take into account the fact that the mother, in certain cases, could very well be responsible for the existence of the fetus in the first place. Of course you shouldn’t allow a stranger to use your body, but the fetus is not a stranger, the fetus is the mother’s own child, and therefore, her responsibility. I don’t like the argument Thomson uses to address this (it’s another thought experiment regarding a hypothetical thing called a people-seed , which I think makes it a little less accessible for most people), so I’ll present two thought experiments of my own that I find more relatable, as well as a few other miscellaneous arguments that I find at least somewhat persuasive. Suppose a woman (with all the proper qualifications, of course) decides to open an independent fertility clinic. Her first clients come in and decide to do IVF . Like any standard practitioner of IVF, the woman makes several embryos, but only ends up using the most viable/desirable to the clients. Is the fertility clinic owner obligated to carry the leftover embryos to term or to find some other way (another womb, or something else entirely) for the embryos to be “born”? Or suppose that a heterosexual couple wants children and the woman becomes pregnant. Midway through the pregnancy, the couple finds out that the woman’s body has a very small chance of being able to carry the fetus until birth. However, new advances in surgery have produced a procedure that would allow an artificial womb to be implanted into the man’s body, and thus the fetus could still be carried to term, but by the father. Is the father morally obligated to undergo the procedure? You could also modify the violinist thought experiment to address this by making the violinist in the thought experiment your child. Are you still obligated to stay hooked up to them? If they need your kidney, are you obligated to donate one? I’m not asking if it’s a good or bad thing to do, but whether or not it’s a moral obligation. Something can be a very good thing to do (such as donating to charity) without being a moral obligation, depending on your moral philosophy. 2. This thought experiment is very unrealistic. What bearing could it possibly have on reality? Why do all thought experiments have to be realistic? If the purpose of a thought experiment  is to uncover exactly where our moral boundaries lie, it makes sense to consider very extreme scenarios, since those are the ones that test our moral systems the most rigorously. If you hold a moral principle, you should be able to defend why it does or doesn’t apply to as many situations as possible. People don’t exist in a vacuum, and our conceptions of morality need to be able to guide us through life in a consistent way. Additionally, abortion (especially the modern kinds of abortion used in most cases today) is a relatively recent invention. In order to grasp such a leap in science, sometimes we need to expand our ways of thinking. It’s very hard to come up with an analogy to abortion that isn’t at least somewhat unrealistic due to the uniqueness of the experiences of pregnancy, birth, and abortion. I don’t think “this example is unrealistic” is a blanket reason to dismiss every single somewhat fantastical thought experiment. A lot of philosophers would be out of a job if this were the case, they seem to like coming up with this kind of stuff, whether or not it’s accessible to most readers.      2b. Wait, but you just said that you didn’t like Thomson’s “people seed” thought experiment because it’s unrealistic! You’re a hypocrite! I am truly sorry for the lack of my precision in wording above, but I couldn’t figure out how to make all the nuance fit and still have the writing flow. I’m don’t think the kind of esoteric, unrealistic nature of the “people-seed” thought experiment prevents you from drawing rational conclusions from it. I actually think the thought experiment is quite interesting. I just found it hard to wrap my head around it when I first came across it, and I knew that a lot of people wouldn’t be persuaded by something they couldn't relate to or found weird. There’s an emotional aspect of persuasiveness as well as a logical aspect, and I don’t find the people seed argument to have the same ethos as more “realistic” thought experiments. 3. This argument is all very well and good, but this doesn’t really prove that a doctor is in the moral right when performing an abortion on a woman who wants one. What about the Hippocratic Oath? Well, the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath most doctors use doesn’t actually contain a reference to abortion, so that particular issue seems to be resolved. JJ Thomson also responds to this argument herself : “If we say that no one may help the mother obtain an abortion, we fail to acknowledge the mother's right over her body (or property). Thomson says that we are not personally obligated to help the mother but this does not rule out the possibility that someone else may act. As Thomson reminds, the house belongs to the mother; similarly, the body which holds a fetus also belongs to the mother.” Essentially, while a doctor may not be obligated to help a mother who seeks an abortion, this doesn’t mean that the doctor can’t perform abortions. Thomson argues that the bodily autonomy of a patient (in this case, the mother) isn’t diminished by a doctor’s refusal to perform an abortion. If doctors are bound to respect the bodily autonomy of patients in other cases, why not this one? I hope this gives you some food for thought! I found this argument quite fascinating when I first came across it :)
  • dannbernaln
    Jan 15

    If we ask the governemt to take care of free and legal abortion, we are demanding a second hand problem, instead of treating the root of the problem. Instead, lets all ask our taxes to be invested in PREVENTING abortion in the first place. Better understanding of sexual education, more security in our countries, more education in general, focus towards young mothers who struggle getting a Job, etc.