USA – It’s past time to be rid of the legacy of Jesse Helms

by Anu Kumar and Serra Sippel
08/07/20

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.

Continued: https://thehill.com/opinion/international/511037-its-past-time-to-be-rid-of-the-legacy-of-jesse-helms


US asks for abortion references to be removed from UN pandemic response plan

US asks for abortion references to be removed from UN pandemic response plan

By Kylie Atwood, CNN
Tue May 19, 2020

Washington (CNN)The Trump administration is urging the United Nations secretary general to remove any references to reproductive health, including abortions, from the UN's humanitarian response plan to the coronavirus pandemic to "avoid creating controversy."

"The United States stands with nations that have pledged to protect the unborn," acting Administrator of USAID John Barsa wrote in a letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres on Monday. "To achieve global unity toward this goal, it is essential that the UN's response to the pandemic avoid creating controversy. Therefore, I ask that you remove references to 'sexual and reproductive health,' and its derivatives from the Global HRP, and drop the provision of abortion as an essential component of the UN's priorities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic."

Continued: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/19/politics/us-abortion-un-pandemic-response/index.html


Abortion is a human right. A pandemic doesn’t change that

Abortion is a human right. A pandemic doesn't change that

Opinion by Serra Sippel and Akila Radhakrishnan
Sat March 28, 2020

(CNN) Access to abortion is an essential service and a fundamental human right. Period. The denial of it, including in times of global crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic, constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

In the United States, the Trump administration's colossal failure to help keep people healthy and to slow the pandemic-driven implosion of the economy shouldn't come as a surprise to much of the public. He has delayed acknowledging the severity of Covid-19, prematurely hinted at an end to social distancing and over the course of his term in office, attempted to slash funding for the WHO, the CDC, and other preparedness agencies that are tasked with the monitoring of such epidemics. The list goes on and on.

Continued: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/28/opinions/covid-19-abortion-access-human-right-sippel-radhakrishnan/index.html


U.S. President’s Global Gag Rule is Having Negative Impact on the Health of Malawians: Report

U.S. President’s Global Gag Rule is Having Negative Impact on the Health of Malawians: Report

By Samira Sadeque

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 19 2020 (IPS) - A report released last week has detailed the complex ways in which President Donald Trump’s ‘Global Gag Rule’ (GGR), that blocks U.S. global health assistance to foreign non-governmental facilities providing abortion or abortion-related services, is affecting the population in Malawi, a country already hard hit with numerous climate change disasters.

The report, titled ‘A Powerful Force: U.S. Global Health Assistance and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Malawi’ was released on Feb. 10 by Washington, D.C.-based sexual and reproductive health rights organisation CHANGE, the Center for Health and Gender Equity.

Continued: http://www.ipsnews.net/2020/02/u-s-presidents-global-gag-rule-negative-impact-health-malawians-report/


25 Years of Progress on Women’s Health Is in Danger

25 Years of Progress on Women’s Health Is in Danger
Because of course it is.

Words: Serra Sippel
Pictures: UN Women
Date: September 25th, 2019

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), and without missing a beat the Trump Administration has pounced on yet another opportunity to renege on US global commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

In the lead-up to the United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on universal health coverage, which took place on September 23, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary Alex Azar of the US Department of Health and Human Services sent a joint letter to governments asking that they join the US in rejecting longstanding global commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality.

Continued: https://inkstickmedia.com/25-years-of-progress-on-womens-health-is-in-danger/


Trump’s Ban On Funding For Overseas Abortions Has Some Little-Known Exceptions

Trump's Ban On Funding For Overseas Abortions Has Some Little-Known Exceptions

June 13, 2018
Nurith Aizenman

It was one of Donald Trump's first acts as President: a Jan. 23, 2017 executive order that cuts off U.S. support to foreign groups unless they promise not to "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning." This includes providing patients with referrals or information about the procedure, even if those activities are funded by non-U.S. government sources.

Every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has adopted a variant of the "Mexico City policy" — so called after the city where it was first announced. And every Democratic successor has reversed it.

Continued: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/06/13/616906884/trumps-ban-on-funding-for-overseas-abortions-has-some-little-known-exceptions


Report Slams Trump’s Abortion ‘Gag Rule’

Report Slams Trump’s Abortion ‘Gag Rule’
A rule first imposed by Ronald Reagan and intensified by Donald Trump doesn’t prevent abortions in developing countries and limits other unrelated medical services, according to a new analysis.

By Paul D. Shinkman, Senior National Security Writer
June 5, 2018

President Donald Trump's unprecedented expansion of a rule prohibiting U.S. funds to international aid groups that discuss or perform abortions is having a severe effect on countries most in need of global support, according to a new study, including prior claims the policy leads to millions of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions and tens of thousands of deaths.

The policy – which applies to $9 billion in funds appropriated to multiple government agencies – is having wide-reaching effects, including shutting down funding to some nongovernmental organizations that served as the sole source of health care in developing countries hard-hit by sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies, according to the report "Prescribing Chaos in Global Health: The Global Gag Rule From 1984-2018" conducted by the Center for Health and Gender Equality or CHANGE, released on Tuesday.

Continued: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2018-06-05/report-trumps-foreign-abortion-gag-rule-harms-developing-countries-other-foreign-aid


Trump’s Abortion Gag Rule Is Hurting Reproductive Rights Around the Globe

Trump’s Abortion Gag Rule Is Hurting Reproductive Rights Around the Globe
This administration’s version of the Global Gag Rule could impact up to 26 million women worldwide.

By Michelle Chen
March 6, 2018

In January, women marked one year of Trump’s presidency by rallying in protest, showing they refused to be silenced by Trump’s oppressive regime. But January also saw the first anniversary of the Global Gag rule, the administration’s ban on international-aid funding for groups linked to abortion-related family-planning services.

The gag rule does not directly ban abortion-related services in aid-receiving communities but, rather, links major funding from USAID to strict rules on avoiding facilitation or promotion of abortion in any way. USAID is currently a dominant contributor to global family-planning programs, supporting some $600 million in grants for service providers within a multibillion-dollar framework of global health aid. Trump’s gag rule revives Reagan-era strictures on services, and expands them an estimated 16 times, according to the Global Fund for Women.

Continued: https://www.thenation.com/article/trumps-abortion-gag-rule-is-hurting-reproductive-rights-around-the-globe/


The global gag rule does nothing to protect life

The global gag rule does nothing to protect life
By Margaret Huang and Serra Sippel, opinion contributors
01/23/18

Nine years ago, the U.S. rescinded a cruel policy that denied life-saving health-care to thousands of people around the world. By repealing the Mexico City Policy (also known as the “global gag rule”), we paved the way for reproductive healthcare providers to access funds that had been withheld from them for years. With those dollars, providers gave their clients desperately needed care for themselves and their families — services that included contraceptives, maternal care, and HIV/AIDS prevention.

There was one thing that providers still could not do. By law since 1973, no organization or health care provider is allowed to use U.S. federal funds to pay for abortions as a method of family planning overseas. That’s not ideal, but with the gag rule rescinded, organizations that did provide abortions could still seek alternate funding for those services while using U.S. aid to provide other care to clients.

Continued: http://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/370345-the-global-gag-rule-does-nothing-to-protect-life


Trump expands policy that bans US aid for overseas abortion providers

Trump expands policy that bans US aid for overseas abortion providers

  • Trump widens ‘Mexico City policy’, which had been suspended under Obama
  • Rule will prevent foreign aid going to groups that even discuss abortion rights

Molly Redden

Monday 15 May 2017

The Trump administration on Monday significantly expanded a Reagan-era policy banning foreign aid to international healthcare providers who discuss abortion or advocate for abortion rights, in a move critics fear will jeopardize efforts to fight diseases such as malaria, HIV/Aids, and the Zika virus.

The new terms of the ban will apply to $8.8bn in existing foreign aid provided by the state department, USAid, and the Department of Defense – dwarfing the $600m in programming that fell under the ban during previous administrations.

Continued at source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/15/trump-abortion-rule-mexico-city-policy