Since 1973, the year Roe v. Wade asserted a constitutional right to abortion, the Helms Amendment has banned the use of U.S. tax dollars to pay directly for elective abortions in foreign countries.
This week, several House Democrats introduced what they are describing as the “First-Ever Bill to Repeal the Helms Amendment.”
In a press release, the original cosponsors of the new bill say the prohibition on funding abortion overseas is racist:
“The Helms Amendment is a policy deeply rooted in racism. It imposes our arbitrary and medically unnecessary abortion restrictions on international communities, allowing the United States to control the health care and bodily autonomy of billions Black and brown people around the world. Just like the Hyde Amendment, the Helms Amendment puts reproductive and economic freedom out of reach for women of color. But enough is enough, and both amendments must fall if we want to realize true health equity and reproductive justice,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “I am proud that my sisters Representatives Lowey, Lee, Speier, Pressley, DeGette, and Torres are joining me to introduce the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act, which will finally repeal the Helms Amendment. Comprehensive reproductive health care, including safe, legal, and accessible abortion, is a human right.”
In January of this year, a Marist Poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus asked Americans if they supported or opposed “using tax dollars to support abortion in other countries.”
The result: 76 percent of Americans oppose using tax dollars to support abortion in other countries, while 21 percent support it.