Global leaders seek US leadership on abortion policy

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In the "Helms Amendment hurts women" video, released on Nov. 11, leaders from Africa and Asia underscored the importance of U.S. leadership in addressing unsafe abortion, a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in developing countries, and calling on the Obama Administration to ease restrictions on U.S. foreign aid for abortion.

The statements were made during “Uniting for Safe, Legal Abortion," a meeting held near the nation’s capital last spring, sponsored by Ipas, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Ipas has been leading a coalition of global health and rights organizations in efforts to encourage the Obama Administration to correctly implement the Helms Amendment to allow support for abortion in the cases of rape or threats to a woman’s life. This move would bring U.S. foreign policy in line with other U.S. abortion-related restrictions like the Hyde Amendment governing health care funds for low-income women on Medicaid.

On Nov. 6, as part of these efforts, Ipas hosted a Google Hangout with a health care expert in Kenya whose work has been directly effected by the Helms amendment. Monica Oguttu, a midwife and executive director of the Kisumu Medical Education Trust called on President Obama as a fellow Kenyan.