Twenty-Eight Senators Call on President Obama to End Unnecessary Reproductive Health Restrictions That Harm Women Overseas
(PRESS RELEASE) Today Cmd+Click or tap to follow the link”>U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and 27 fellow Senators are asking President Obama to put an end to the incorrect implementation of the Helms Amendment so women and girls worldwide can access reproductive health services, including safe abortion services in at least the limited circumstances of rape, incest, or a life-endangering pregnancy.
In the open letter, the Senators ask President Obama to act to “ensure U.S. foreign aid does not stand in the way of women and girls fleeing conflict who seek abortion services.” It specifically calls for the Obama Administration to issue guidance to relevant government agencies to support safe abortion services.
The Helms Amendment prohibits the use of U.S. foreign assistance funds “to pay for the performance of abortions as a method of family planning.” For more than 40 years, the law has been incorrectly implemented as a complete ban on all abortion-related services. The Senate letter highlights the terrible impact of the use of rape as a war tactic by Boko Haram and ISIS, and asks President Obama to act to make reproductive health services available to women in conflict-affected areas.
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Women and girls worldwide suffer serious health consequences and die needlessly because they lack access to safe abortion care.
“For decades, the United States’ implementation of the Helms Amendment has denied critical funding to local organizations that could otherwise help these women and girls get the essential reproductive health services they need.
“We thank Senator Blumenthal, a longstanding champion for women’s health here at home, for calling attention to this global health crisis. We hope President Obama will act quickly to change this harmful policy.”