U.S. Foreign Assistance

Every Second President Obama Hesitates Harms U.S. Efforts to Prevent Unsafe Abortions, Deaths

tickerToday, PAI and other reproductive rights organizations launched a campaign to urge President Obama to take action on the Helms Amendment–a dangerous policy that withholds funding for safe abortion care even from women who have been raped, or who are facing a life-threatening pregnancy. Every minute he delays puts additional women at risk.

Read our official statement from PAI President and CEO Suzanne Ehlers, and check out HelmsHurts.com to see our inaction tracker and get more information on the campaign:

“For more than 40 years, the Helms Amendment has banned U.S. foreign assistance from funding abortion ‘as a method of family planning.’ But policymakers have gone beyond the law and used Helms to deny women health care even in cases that have nothing to do with family planning—cases where a woman needs an abortion because of rape or incest, or because her life is in danger.

President Obama has the power to make it clear: women who become pregnant because of rape or incest, or whose pregnancy puts their lives in danger, deserve the full range of care. It’s not only the right thing to do; it’s consistent with other U.S. policies. Other U.S. restrictions on abortion funding—such as the Hyde Amendment and Global Gag Rule—make exceptions in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. Even conservative members of Congress accept these common-sense provisions.

We’re asking him to act now, to prevent more women in these vulnerable situations from risking their lives through unsafe abortion.

Banning funding for safe abortion, particularly under these limited circumstances, is out-of-step with U.S. law and policy and the administration’s own efforts to reduce maternal deaths. It is also dangerous for women worldwide. More than 21 million unsafe abortions occur each year—most in the developing world—contributing to 47,000 deaths and millions of injuries.

It’s been too long. It’s time for President Obama to correct this inequity, and instruct U.S. overseas agencies that they can support safe abortion under these circumstances.

We’re asking him to act now, to prevent more women in these vulnerable situations from risking their lives through unsafe abortion. We’re keeping track of every hour that he doesn’t. And we’re asking you to stand with us and call for action.”

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