The Helms Amendment is a longstanding legislative restriction on the U.S. government’s international family planning and reproductive health program that hampers critical efforts to address the serious problem of unsafe abortion around the world. The Amendment prohibits the use of U.S. foreign assistance funds to pay for the “performance of abortion as a method of family planning.”

The policy has been broadly applied, even to situations that have nothing to do with family planning: like in the cases of rape or incest, or when a woman’s life is endangered.

Each year, 47,000 women around the world die from complications of unsafe abortions, and million more face debilitating injuries. The Helms Amendment prevents the United States from adequately addressing this issue by prohibiting our foreign assistance programs from providing the full range of comprehensive, quality reproductive health services that women need and deserve.

Learn more about this destructive policy in our policy brief. Check out for more information.