Calls to Change Helms Amendment Not about Rape Victims

african-motherAbortion advocates are exploiting victims of sexual violence in conflict to advance their own narrow agenda – opening up a new funding stream to international abortion groups and changing abortion laws in countries where restricted.

Global humanitarian groups receive hundreds of millions of dollars to help the most vulnerable – many in areas of conflict or regions that have had natural disasters. Most of these groups stay away from abortion.

One reason they do, is that many of these groups are faith-based organizations that deliver programs that address the most basic needs of the poor and victimized – food, shelter, and healthcare services. Others, don’t provide or refer for abortion because they receive funding from the U.S. and the Helms amendment prohibits US development aid to be used to promote or provide abortion.

The Helms amendment has successfully allowed faith-based groups to qualify for U.S. grant money to administer programs to the most vulnerable people in the world. By prohibiting overseas aid money from covering abortions it prevents limited funding from being siphoned from holistic healthcare programs that truly help poor women and children.

With an abortion-friendly president in the White House, abortion proponents are calling for President Obama to issue an executive order to gut the Helms amendment allowing abortion groups to be eligible to receive hundreds of millions of dollars more than they already do.

So called faith leaders stepped up the anti-Helms rhetoric last week asking President Obama to make this change so the Boko Haram girls and other that have become pregnant through sexual violence may obtain US funded abortions. These same leaders are abortion advocates that have for years lobbied for unrestricted abortion – the kidnapping of the Boko Haram girls is a tragic opportunity to push their agenda.

Anti-Helms proponents imply that abortions aren’t available in developing countries. However, many African countries allow an exception for rape and many international clinics operate in these regions and provide abortion – Marie Stopes International, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Doctors Without Borders. Additionally, several of USAID’s top vendors such as World Bank, World Health Organization, and Population Services International support programs involving abortion.

The African people are a very pro-life people who value children and families. In my last trip to Nairobi I met a doctor who is providing care to unmarried pregnant girls by opening homes throughout the country. She shared a story about a young woman who escaped from the Congo where all her family had been killed. She was pregnant due to rape. When she delivered her very wanted son she announced he would be called – Victor, because he was the only remaining family she had.

This home offered her the assistance she desperately needed – shelter, pre-natal and post-natal medical care and healing from the trauma she experienced. Will abortion clinics provide the same?

If President Obama lifts the restrictions it is the poor in these conflict countries that will be most hurt. Charitable humanitarian groups that administer to sexual violence victims will be denied grants as they won’t be able to comply with grant guidelines that they offer abortion as a reproductive health service. And, more money will be directed to abortion groups that will use the funding not only to perform abortions but to agitate at the local level to change abortion laws.

President Obama and Democratic members of Congress have received large campaign donations from abortion rights groups calling for the end of the Helms amendment. This change will allow millions more to be channeled to their organizations and will lead to the United States soon becoming the largest abortion provider around the globe.

Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.