Resolving to Beat the Helms Amendment in 2015

December 31, 2014 • Daily Email Recap

Dear Mr. President,

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We, representatives of 80 undersigned organizations, write to urge you to take immediate action to correct the unduly restrictive implementation of the Helms Amendment by issuing guidance to USAID and the State Department to allow abortion services in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. Such action is necessary to safeguard the lives and health of women in developing countries served by U.S. foreign assistance. We applaud the unprecedented steps taken by your administration to establish a U.S. foreign policy that puts women and girls at its center. We ask that you continue to build on this momentum.


The Helms Amendment prohibits the use of U.S. foreign assistance funds for “the performance of abortions as a method of family planning.” However, your Administration continues to implement this law as a complete ban on all abortion-related services, including support for abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. In countries where abortion is legal in such cases, this misapplication of U.S. law has created barriers to women seeking the care they need. By limiting access to safe and legal abortion, the Administration’s interpretation of the Helms Amendment leads to preventable deaths and injuries among the world’s most vulnerable women and violates their fundamental human rights. This implementation is out of line with other U.S. policies regarding coverage for abortion in these cases and goes far beyond what is required by this law: abortions in the cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment are not abortions “as a method of family planning.”

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