IPS Looks At NGO Effort Urging Obama Administration To Clarify Helms Amendment In Cases Of Post-Rape Abortion

Inter Press Service reports on how a group of U.S. and African non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has launched a campaign, called “Break the Barriers,” “to step up pressure on the Obama administration to support and allow access to safe abortion services for the millions of women and girls who face sexual violence in areas plagued by conflict.” According to advocates, the Helms Amendment — which prohibits the use of foreign assistance to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortion — “has been interpreted by U.S. government agencies, including [USAID], to include post-rape abortions, despite the fact that the text only refers to [abortions performed for] family planning purposes,” IPS notes (Srour, 12/12). The campaign is asking the administration to clarify the interpretation of the Helms Amendment with regard to “cases of rape, incest or life endangerment,” according to the Miami Herald (Charles, 12/12).