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.
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