by Anu Kumar and Serra Sippel
You’ve likely never heard of the Helms Amendment, or perhaps not until now that Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), along with Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Barbara Lee(D-Texas), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.), have introduced legislation to repeal it. But our guess is you’ve heard of the late North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms.
In 1973, Helms, an outspoken opponent of civil rights — really, he opposed rights for anyone not white, male, heterosexual, American and Christian — introduced the Helms Amendment. The policy prohibits any U.S. foreign assistance funds from being used for “the performance of abortion as a method of family planning.” As written, the Helms Amendment allows for the provision of abortion information and counseling in cases of rape, incest and if a woman’s life is in danger. But in effect, it has been interpreted as a total ban on abortion-related services and information in developing countries.
July 30, 2020
By Common Dreams
“Abortion care is healthcare and healthcare is a fundamental human right.”
Reproductive rights advocates on Wednesday cheered the introduction of the first-ever legislation to repeal the Helms Amendment, which has prevented millions of women across the globe from accessing safe abortion care.
Introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), the “Abortion Is Health Care Everywhere Act” would rescind the 1973 amendment that blocks U.S. foreign aid funding for abortion and would help support comprehensive reproductive healthcare for women worldwide.
Easy Access to Abortion Pill Vital During Pandemic, FDA Told
June 16, 2020
The FDA should relax restrictions on a medication used for abortion during the pandemic to prevent unnecessary travel, over 100 members of the House said Tuesday in a letter to the agency.
Under the current rules, a person who wants to use mifepristone to help terminate a pregnancy must get it directly from their health-care provider. Mifepristone—which blocks progesterone and stops a pregnancy from advancing—is typically used in combination with a second pill, misoprostol—which causes cramping and bleeding that empties the uterus—when used to terminate a pregnancy. Misoprostol is available at pharmacies with a prescription.