President Obama says he cares about women and girls, but his legacy is in serious question. For six years he has failed to fund abortions for rape victims in war zones. The tough news is that he’s been paying more attention to abortion opponents than the people most directly impacted by the Helms Amendment.
Reproaction’s position is clear: Every abortion funding restriction is demeaning, and they all must go. With your help, we have an opportunity today to make sure President Obama signs an executive order keeping rape, incest, and life endangerment out of the Helms Amendment foreign assistance abortion-funding ban.
Dear President Obama,
Women raped in war zones deserve more than six years of inaction. I am writing to request you please issue an executive order clarifying that the Helms Amendment does not bar abortion funding in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment.
The Helms Amendment bars funding in foreign assistance for abortion “as a method of family planning,” and this has been interpreted erroneously as a total ban. At a time when groups like Boko Haram and ISIS are using rape and deliberate impregnation as weapons of war, it is critical you act decisively – with no “conscience clause” that takes basic human rights away from victims of rape and incest, and women on their deathbeds.
Women and girls deserve protections under the Geneva Conventions, even and especially if they have become pregnant as a result of rape in war. Recently, you gave a powerful speech on women’s human rights in Kenya where you said “Treating women as second-class citizens is a bad tradition: It holds you back.”
You say you care about women and girls; please don’t leave a bad legacy behind. Respectfully I request you immediately issue an executive order clarifying that the Helms Amendment doesn’t restrict abortion funding in foreign assistance in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment – without a conscience clause attached. Rape victims deserve no less.
Image Credits: Pete Souza, White House