Sign the petition: Rape victims deserve access to abortions

CREDO action
How President Obama can help rape victims in conflict zones

The petition to President Obama reads:
"Issue an executive order clarifying that the Helms Amendment does not bar abortion funding in cases of rape or incest, or when a woman's life is in danger."

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Dear 5849376,

Republicans in Congress who want to deny women access to abortion often use their financial power to impose abortion funding restrictions on federal spending.

The Helms Amendment bans U.S. foreign aid from being spent on abortion "as a means of family planning." But for decades, it has been misinterpreted as a blanket ban on all abortion funding.

In conflict zones around the globe, where rape is often used as a tool of control and where women's and girls' bodies are often a battleground, the Helms Amendment has been wielded to block women who have been raped from accessing abortions in their most urgent time of need. But it doesn't have to be this way. Without waiting for Congress, President Obama can issue an executive order clarifying Helms.

Tell President Obama to make clear that the Helms Amendment doesn't restrict abortion funding in cases of rape or incest, or when a woman's life is in danger. Click here to sign.

The Helms Amendment has a dangerous, chilling effect that goes beyond the actual constraints of the law. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive or want to receive U.S. foreign aid don't perform abortions at all (which could happen using non-U.S. funds). Others avoid even providing abortion counseling or referrals for survivors of sexual assault, offering information about abortion on web sites or in training materials, or partnering or identifying with NGOs that openly support abortion access.1

Ideally, Congress should repeal the Helms Amendment, and every other abortion funding restriction that puts dangerous and demeaning barriers between women and their ability to access their reproductive rights. But unfortunately there's no chance that this Congress — filled with anti-woman, right-wing extremists —will act.

The president has had seven years to stand up for abortion rights and offer immediate relief to women and girls in conflict zones, but he still has not acted. We know that he will respond to pressure from progressives. The more of us who speak out, the stronger that pressure will be.

Tell President Obama to make clear that the Helms Amendment doesn't restrict abortion funding in cases of rape or incest, or when a woman's life is in danger. Sign the petition:

https://act.credoaction.com/sign/obama_helms?t=6&akid=16447.3291973.QH7h_n

Thanks for standing up for women,

Heidi Hess, Senior Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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References:
1. Sneha Barot, "Abortion Restrictions in U.S. Foreign Aid: The History and Harms of the Helms Amendment," Guttmacher Policy Review, Summer 2013.


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