Monday, June 28, 2021 | News

A critical first step for reproductive justice globally

From Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, in response to the U.S. House of Representatives’ State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee Appropriations Bill’s historic exclusion of the Helms Amendment and critical advances for reproductive justice globally:

Last night, the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee (SFOPS) released its Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill which includes unprecedented historic advances for reproductive health, rights and justice worldwide. The bill substantially increases funding for family planning, increases United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) funding, permanently repeals the Global Gag Rule and repeals the Helms Amendment for the first-time ever.   

For nearly 50 years, the Helms Amendment has oppressed and controlled the reproductive health and future of people living in low- and middle-income countries using the power of U.S. funding. Today, we applaud the SFOPS Subcommittee, and the tireless efforts and leadership from its Chairwoman and champion for reproductive freedom, Representative Barbara Lee, for removing this harmful policy from this spending bill.  This has never been done before and today Representative Lee and the Subcommittee made history. 

By omitting the Helms Amendment from the SFOPS appropriations bill, the Subcommittee has taken an essential, life-saving step to promote comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, including abortion care, and to protect the bodily autonomy of millions of people living  thousands of miles from the U.S.  We encourage the Appropriations Committee and the U.S. House to fight any effort to restore this harmful provision.

Now Congress must repeal the Helms Amendment for good by passing the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act. Only when the Helms Amendment is permanently repealed will any vision of health equity and reproductive justice be realized.