For over 40 years, a policy called the Helms Amendment has been used to prevent women in some of the poorest countries from receiving vital, and often lifesaving, care.
The exact words of the Amendment forbid the U.S. to "pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning." You would think that language makes it clear that cases of rape, incest, or life-endangering pregnancies are allowed. And yet, decade after decade, each President's administration has chosen to enforce an all-out ban without any exception.
No more. Tell President Obama to use his final months in office to stop denying women in the very worst of circumstances access to safe, legal abortions.
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Helms Hurts: It's time to end more than four decades of neglect and needless death
Dear [Decision Maker],
Access to safe abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment is a moral imperative.The Helms Amendment, a decades-old provision, forbids the U.S. to "pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning," but does not prohibit U.S. foreign assistance in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.Despite the distinction, lack of clarity around the implementation of Helms has served as a barrier to safe abortion services for women and girls, including those raped in conflict. It doesn't have to be this way.I know you can't overturn the entire harmful law on its own, but you can and must correct this policy that denies care to women in these exceptional circumstances. U.S. programs should be part of the solution, not the problem. President Obama, you have the authority to bring Helms in line with other U.S. policies by making clear that U.S. foreign aid can be used to provide safe abortions to women who have been raped, are the survivors of incest, or whose lives are threatened by carrying a pregnancy to term. This action is not only legal, but a clear moral imperative, consistent with the values of the vast majority of American voters who support abortion in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the woman's life. It is time to end more than four decades of neglect and needless death. It is time for you to take action. I'm counting on you to do the right thing by correcting this harmful policy.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]