Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a federal spending bill that lifts the ban on coverage of abortion care for Peace Corps volunteers, removes the anti-choice Helms Amendment, and moves to permanently end the anti-choice global gag rule. This bill also allocates increased funding for international family planning programs, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christian LoBue released the following statement in response:
“We are grateful to the champions in Congress who have demonstrated their commitment to advancing reproductive freedom and fighting back against anti-choice politicians’ attempts to export their out-of-touch ideological agenda overseas. For too long, anti-choice politicians have pushed comprehensive reproductive healthcare out of reach for people and communities who already have limited access to the care they need. The passage of this bill is a step toward ensuring that Peace Corps volunteers and pregnant people and families around the world have the freedom to make important decisions about their lives and futures with dignity.”
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. It also includes a provision to permanently end the global gag rule, which denies U.S. global health assistance funds 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 supporting reproductive freedom. When in place, these anti-choice policies disproportionately harm women, girls, LGBTQ people, and others who face systemic barriers to care.
By lifting these draconian bans and restrictions, this historic spending bill protects access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for people around the world.
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.