U.S. Government Policy Prohibits Funding Legal Abortion Overseas

In a post in the RH Reality Check blog, Elizabeth Maguire of Ipas writes about the impact of U.S. government policy on women’s ability to access safe, legal abortion. “[F]or the past 40 years, USAID and its grantees have implemented the Helms Amendment as a complete ban on abortion,” she says, adding, “This means that in Ethiopia and in many other developing countries, health care facilities that receive U.S. government funds treat women only after they are already suffering or dying from a botched abortion, under the umbrella of sanctioned post-abortion care.” She continues, “The current restrictive interpretation of the Helms Amendment is at odds with U.S. domestic policy on abortion, whose allowance of government funding for abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life-endangerment is supported by even the most conservative members of Congress,” and she calls on the Obama administration “to correctly implement the Helms Amendment now, by allowing the U.S. Department of State and USAID to support abortion overseas in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman” (11/27).