From: "Meghan Ashford-Grooms" <mashford-grooms@statesman.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2011 19:12:05 -0500
To: Meghan Ashford-Grooms <mashford-grooms@statesman.com>

From: Kellie Fiedorek
Date: Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 9:06 AM
To: Meghan Ashford-Grooms <mashford79@gmail.com>

The Helms amendment does not make Governor Perry’s statement inaccurate.  Obama’s rescission of the Mexico City Policy made international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform or promote abortions in developing countries eligible for public funds.

The Helms amendment, annually attached to the Foreign Assistance Act, prohibits the use of U.S. funds to pay for abortion.  The Helms amendment language states: “No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.”  Thus, the Helms amendment only ensures that U.S. foreign aid funds are not used for abortion, or to motivate/coerce an individual to perform an abortion.  The Helms Amendment does not ensure that taxpayer dollars do not fund NGOs that provide, refer, counsel, or advocate for abortion.  The Helms amendment fails to prevents taxpayer dollars from going to all abortion providers, and lacks restrictions to ensure federal funds are not used to lobby foreign governments to reverse life-affirming laws.  Thus, even with the Helms Amendment still enacted (and only Congress could repeal it), it  lacks the same protections for taxpayer funds as the Mexico City Policy contained, and fails to fully ensure that Americans’ tax dollars will not go to any foreign organization that either provides or promotes abortion.

 

The Mexico City Policy, instituted in 1984 by President Reagan at a United Nations population conference in Mexico City, required that NGOs “agree as a condition of their receipt of [U.S.] federal funds that such organizations would neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”  In other words, the Mexico City Policy provides that for NGOs to be eligible to receive family planning funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development, they must agree not to perform or actively promote abortion—with federal or other funds—as a method of family planning in other nations.  (“actively promoting” abortions means the NGO provides advice and information regarding the availability of abortion or encourages women to consider abortion; lobbies a foreign government to legalize or make abortion more available; or conducts a public information campaign regarding the benefits and/or availability of abortion.) 

 

The effect of President Obama’s reversal of the Mexico City Policy is that over $450 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars now go abroad in support of abortion—either to organizations that perform abortions, or to organizations determined to promote abortion as a method of population control.

 

In conclusion, while the Helms Amendment ensures that no U.S. dollars can be used to directly pay for abortions overseas, without the Mexico City Policy, Americans’ tax dollars may still go to NGOs that provide abortions.  Without the Mexico City Policy enacted, American taxpayers are forced to support abortion overseas. 

 

Best,

Kellie

Kellie Fiedorek

Staff Counsel