Pro-abortion activists, who have been empowered by the recent change in the nation’s leadership, are dedicated to dismantling many of the pro-life protections enacted over the last four years and forcing Americans to fund abortions not only at home, but abroad as well.
According to reports, a group of pro-abortion politicians are interested in eliminating the Helms Amendment, which prevent U.S. taxpayers from funding abortions abroad. It is similar to the Hyde Amendment that prohibits U.S. taxpayers from funding abortions in this country.
The Helms Amendment was actually first enacted after the Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade, and therefore it precedes the much talked about Mexico City Policy. The Helms Amendment (1973) prevents U.S. funds from being “used to pay for the performance of abortions as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.”
President Ronald Reagan expanded on this amendment and instituted what is now referred to as the Mexico City Policy, which essentially broadened the scope of the Helms Amendment and required “foreign NGOs to certify that they will not ‘perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning’ using funds from any source (including non-U.S. funds) as a condition of receiving U.S. global family planning assistance and, when in place under the Trump administration, most other U.S. global health assistance.”
The Mexico City Policy is usually rescinded during a liberal administration and then reinstated during a conservative presidency, but now it looks like the current administration and pro-abortion members of Congress want to do away with the Helms Amendment, which would weaken the ability of future presidents to restrict abortion funding abroad.
Members of the House have already introduced the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act, which would dismantle the nearly 50-year-old Helms Amendment.
According to Planned Parenthood, “Since (the Helms Amendment) was enacted, this harmful policy has created significant barriers to accessing vital, lifesaving health care in some of the poorest countries in the world…The policy restricts people’s ability to make their own personal medical decisions and denies access to comprehensive reproductive health care.”
In an opinion piece in Newsweek, Vina Smith-Ramakrishnan of the Population Institute, wrote, “If the U.S. is to repair the damage former President Donald Trump did to reproductive health and rights, especially the damage caused abroad, repealing Helms is a critical, long overdue step for several reasons. The Helms Amendment is unjust.”
But is it?
The United States is one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to foreign aid, but where is it required that that money must include access to abortion in order to help those less fortunate.
Most women who live in destitute situations in foreign countries would prefer health care for themselves and their children over abortion.
Maternal mortality in developing countries remains far too high, with nearly 300,000 women dying from preventable pregnancy and childbirth-related complications in 2017. The vast majority of these deaths (86%) occur in “low-resource settings” in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. How would abortions help these women? They need proper health care, not abortions.
In addition, a shocking 5.2 million children have died before reaching the age of five. Again, the vast majority of these deaths are in developing countries, with one in 13 children in Sub-Saharan Africa dying before the age of five. These mothers want their children to succeed and grow, and the vast majority are not interested in abortion.
The West, including the United States, pushes its social values on other communities when it provides international aid, in what some have called a reflection of “neocolonialism.” This happens particularly on the issue of abortion. Most communities, in Africa especially, value life over abortion.
I’ve seen this firsthand. In 2017, I visited two refugee camps filled with South Sudanese citizens in Uganda. I met many women and families that had taken in children who had arrived at the camps without their parents due to separation or death. I was struck by how the South Sudanese people valued life and seemed to embrace taking care of another’s child, despite the immense difficulty of their circumstances. Abortion, seemingly, wouldn’t even be in their vocabularies. Ask any one of those women what they wanted most, and they would probably say water, food, primary health care, shelter, safety, education and a bright future for their children. I highly doubt any of these brave women give much consideration to abortion or consider it “essential health care,” as abortion activists argue.
But the pro-abortion industry is content to dismiss and ignore the cultural values of these women and their families, and instead push this pro-abortion narrative.
The generosity of the American people should never be used to push an agenda of death, at home or abroad. Hopefully, there will be a rigorous fight to protect and continue the strong legacy of the Helms Amendment.
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