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Support the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act

Policy Briefs

As the largest donor of global health assistance, the U.S. government should reduce — not compound — health inequities. Globally, more than 35 million women have abortions in unsafe conditions every year. Unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in low- and middle-income countries where there are significant barriers to accessing quality abortion care. Restrictive U.S. foreign policies like the Helms amendment create an added burden and undermine country-led efforts to reduce maternal mortality and bolster reproductive rights.

New research suggests that eliminating the Helms amendment would result in at least 19 million fewer unsafe abortions annually, leading to 17,000 fewer maternal deaths and 12 million fewer women needing medical treatment for complications from unsafe procedures.

Congress must take action to repeal the Helms amendment and support safe abortion care by passing the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act.

This bill would amend the Foreign Assistance Act, the permanent authorizing statute, to:

  1. Remove the Helms provision, making it no longer illegal to use U.S. foreign assistance for abortion services.
  2. Insert proactive language stating that U.S. funding “may be used to provide comprehensive reproductive health care services, including the provision of abortion services, training and equipment.”
  3. Affirm that the United States should work to end unsafe abortion and promote safe abortion care by providing funding to and collaborating with affected governments and service providers.

To be added as a cosponsor of the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act, please reach out to staff in the office of Representative Jan Schakowsky.

 

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