249600 Impact of restrictions in US foreign policy on women's access to abortion

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 10:30 AM

Merrill Wolf, Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships , Ipas, Chapel Hill, NC
Patty Skuster, JD; MPP , Policy, Senior Advisor, Chapel Hill, NC
Abortion-related restrictions in U.S. foreign assistance hinder efforts to increase access to safe abortion by governments and organizations in the global south. The Helms Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act prohibits the use of funds for the performance of abortion “as a method of family planning” or to “motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.” The Siljander Amendment states that no foreign assistance can be used to lobby for or against abortion. Both laws are applied broadly to ban all abortion services, information on abortion and speech on safe abortion. Ipas researchers travelled to Nepal in 2009 and will travel to Ghana early 2011 to investigate the impact of U.S. foreign policy on safe abortion services through interviews with non-governmental organizations, government officials and health care professionals. In Nepal, over-enforcement of the Helms Amendment has led to decreased access to care for women, decreased training for providers, fragmentation of basic health services, and unnecessary censorship at all levels. Results from Ghana are forthcoming at the writing of this abstract.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe how U.S. foreign policy jeapordizes women's access to safe abortion in the global south generally and in Nepal and Ghana specifically

Keywords: Abortion, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I design and oversee research on the impact of U.S. foreign policy on efforts to improve access to safe abortion.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.