Monday, December 18, 2023 | News

50 years of the Helms Amendment

Denying abortion care to millions through the power of the U.S. purse

December 17 marked five decades of the Helms Amendment, which restricts the use of U.S. foreign assistance for abortion “as a method of family planning.” But in practice, the policy has been implemented as a complete ban on abortion, even in countries where it’s legal.

At Ipas, we’ve essentially been fighting against the harms of the Helms Amendment for as long as it—and we—have existed. It’s past time to repeal it.

“It’s impossible to overstate the harm five decades of Helms enforcement has wrought on the world. It has devastated global health networks, caused maternal deaths that disproportionately impact women of color, and contributed to the stagnation of maternal mortality rates globally,” said Ipas President and CEO Anu Kumar, with Global Justice Center’s President Akila Radhakrishnan in a Dec. 14 op-ed published in The Hill: President Biden says he’s fighting back against abortion ans. He’s ignoring the oldest one.

“Every year, roughly 35 million people around the world have unsafe abortions, and millions suffer injuries and disabilities as a result. The Helms Amendment exacerbates this crisis and puts the lives and health of millions of pregnant people, mostly Black and brown people, around the world at risk,” said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowski and Ellen Gaddy in a Dec. 17 op-ed published in The Hill: The Helms Amendment: 50 years of blocking safe access to abortion overseas.

For more information, contact media@ipas.org.

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We work with partners around the world to advance reproductive justice by expanding access to abortion and contraception.

Ipas Sustainable Abortion Care

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The global movement for legal, accessible abortion is growing. Our staff and partners in countries as diverse as Bolivia, Malawi and India are working to ensure all people can access high-quality abortion care.

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