For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs) subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee voted to advance its spending bill for the fiscal year 2022. This historic bill lifts the ban on abortion coverage for Peace Corps volunteers, ends the anti-choice Helms Amendment, and moves to permanently end the global gag rule. This bill also allocates increased funding for international family planning programs, including the United Nations Population Fund.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christian LoBue released the following statement in response:
“For too long, anti-choice policies like the Helms Amendment and the global gag rule have pushed time-sensitive, essential care out of reach for pregnant people and families across the globe. We are grateful to the reproductive freedom champions in Congress who have been unwavering in their commitment to ensuring that no matter where someone lives, they have the freedom to make their own decisions about their lives, bodies, and futures. Now, Congress must pass this spending bill and ensure U.S. global assistance funding supports comprehensive reproductive healthcare—including abortion care.”
For years, anti-choice Congressional lawmakers have added abortion coverage bans and restrictions as policy riders to federal spending bills. This historic spending bill removes anti-choice policies including the Helms Amendment, which prohibits U.S. foreign assistance funds from being used for abortion care, and the long-standing ban on coverage of abortion care for Peace Corps volunteers. This bill also includes a provision to permanently end the global gag rule, which denies global assistance to overseas health centers unless they agree not to use their own, private funds for abortion care, counseling, or even to take a public position in support of reproductive freedom. By lifting these draconian bans and restrictions, this historic spending bill protects access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for people around the world.
When in place, these anti-choice policies disproportionately harm women, girls, LGBTQ people, and others who face systemic barriers to care. Anti-choice lawmakers’ decades-long effort to export anti-choice ideology overseas has pushed lifesaving care—including abortion—out of reach for people and communities who already have limited access to the care they need.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.