Congressional Bill Would Open Up More U.S. International Abortion Funding

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 29, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congressional Bill Would Open Up More U.S. International Abortion Funding

by Terrence McKeegan, J.D.
April 29, 2010 Note: Terrence McKeegan writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax publication and is used with permission.

New York, NY ( — Last Friday, a Congresswoman from Brooklyn, New York introduced a bill in the United States (US) House of Representatives that would greatly expand international funding for abortion, contraception, and sex education, and would effectively eliminate the long-standing Helms Amendment prohibiting the use of US foreign assistance funds for abortion.

The Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010, sponsored by Representative Yvette Clarke and co-sponsored by at least 17 other House members, appears to be linked to the US statement at the recently concluded United Nations (UN) Commission on Population and Development (CPD).

That statement touted that “President Obama has requested $715.7 million for bilateral and multilateral reproductive health, including family planning, in 2011. If approved later this year by Congress, this amount will represent the single largest U.S. contribution in history for international reproductive health programs.”

The stated purpose of the bill is the “advancement of sexual and reproductive health is necessary to meeting most of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” with its findings based almost entirely on the controversial UN report entitled “Adding It Up."

That report was authored and sponsored by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and was also cited prominently in the US statement to the CPD. It advocated increased family planning and access to abortion as the primary means of reducing maternal mortality worldwide.

The bill states that foreign assistance funds should be used to “support safe abortion services, including referrals, and support the training of abortion providers and the necessary equipment and commodities for surgical and medical abortion.”

Section 7 of the bill calls for funding to ensure and promote “sexual and reproductive health care for young people,” including comprehensive sexuality and reproductive health education, as well as abortion services. The bill defines “young people” as including all individuals as young as 10 years of age up to 25 years old.

According to the pro-abortion Ipas organization, “Adoption of the Act would mean the end of the Helms Amendment.” The Helms Amendment was first enacted in 1973 and states that, “No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.”

A statement from Representative Clarke’s office suggests the bill is needed to comply with international norms: “By revising existing legislation to meet current international standards, we can establish an integrated, progressive model for delivering more efficient and effective sexual and reproductive health services across the globe.”

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, expressed her outrage to the Friday Fax.

She said: “This bill is beyond irresponsible. No abortion procedure is fully safe – and the danger multiplies for women without access to basic medical care, clean water or penicillin. Exporting abortion to the most deprived women in the world and promoting 10 year olds to engage in sex, putting them at risk of deadly disease, exploitation by pedophiles, and candidates for abortion, could be considered a method of ethnic cleansing.”

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