Evaluating the Mexico City Policy: How U.S. Policy Affects Fertility Outcomes in Ghana

Kelly M. Jones, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

International population assistance represents a significant source of funding for family planning and reproductive health services in poor countries. The Mexico City Policy reduces population assistance from the largest donor (the U.S.) to certain foreign NGOs, aiming to reduce the use of abortion abroad. I examine whether the policy achieves this aim in Ghana. Employing a woman-by-month panel of pregnancies and woman-fixed effects, I estimate whether a given woman is less likely to abort a pregnancy during two policy periods versus two non-policy periods. No demographic group reduces the use of abortion, and rural women significantly increase abortions. This likely results from their increased rate of conception under the policy, when contraceptives were scared due to policy-induced budget shortfalls. The estimated 12% increase in rural pregnancies increased abortions and unintended births. These unintended births are concentrated among the poorest and least educated women, and the children have significantly reduced height-for-age.

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Presented in Session 212: The Effects of Government Policies on Fertility