Google Hangout: African leaders discuss how U.S. foreign policy restricts safe abortion access overseas

Ipas Helms Hurts

Tying Our Hands:
African leaders discuss how U.S. foreign policy restricts safe abortion access overseas

Every year, 22 million women experience an unsafe abortion. Despite this fact and the compelling need for safe abortion care,
U.S. foreign assistance has been prevented from supporting access to safe abortion care in reproductive health programs around the world, under the Helms Amendment passed in 1973.

U.S. government-funded family planning and maternal health programs reach women in over 40 countries. All of these countries legally permit abortion to save a woman’s life and about
half permit abortion in cases of rape and incest. USAID and the State Department could help prevent some of these unnecessary injuries and deaths by implementing the Helms Amendment correctly and funding safe abortion services in the cases of rape, incest,
and life endangerment.

Join us in a
Google Hangout on November 6 at 10 a.m. as two health experts, from Kenya and Malawi, discuss how this amendment has hampered local efforts to serve the health needs of women in their countries
and across Africa.

Monica Oguttu, K-MET (Kenya) is a nurse midwife, who has trained health
care providers across Western Kenya and elsewhere in Africa to provide comprehensive abortion care to save women’s lives. Ms. Oguttu sees firsthand the impact unsafe abortion has on the lives of women and girls who lack access to care.As the Director of Reproductive Health in the Ministry of Health in Malawi until 2011,
Dr. Chisale Mhango led the national family planning program and also participated in the first comprehensive national study of the incidence and harms of unsafe abortion in Malawi. In 2010, USAID instructed him not to present the study findings in a
national meeting, citing “statutory restrictions.”

To receive a link for the Google Hangout, or if you have any questions, reply to
Kirsten Sherk.

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