Leading Global Jewish Human Rights Group Praises Groundbreaking U.S. House Legislation to Promote Abortion as Health Care and a Human Right Worldwide  

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Welcomes Human Rights Legislation that Repeals the Helms Amendment

In response to the introduction of the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act of 2020 in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Representative Jan Schakowsky, along with Representatives Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier, Diana DeGette, Norma Torres and Ayanna Pressley, Rori Kramer, Director of U.S. Advocacy at American Jewish World Service (AJWS), released the following statement:

“This legislation unequivocally makes clear that abortion is an essential form of health care and that access to abortion is a fundamental human right. The Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act is the first bill in the U.S. Congress that repeals the decades-old harmful Helms Amendment, which bans all U.S. foreign assistance from being used to fund abortion services overseas.

“We applaud this legislation, which sets a vision for a U.S. foreign policy that strengthens the right to abortion services that will save the lives of millions of people worldwide.

“Since 1973, the punitive Helms Amendment has denied individuals around the globe access to abortion, an essential health care service that they want and need, undermining U.S. global health policy and basic human rights. Tragically, the lack of access to abortion services has led to a staggering 35 million unsafe abortions worldwide each year, violating the rights of women, girls and individuals of diverse gender identities. Access to full and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services— including abortion care—is more important than ever, because every person in every country is endangered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they must have access to the full range of health care.

“As a faith-based organization committed to upholding the reproductive rights of all people, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is grateful to the leadership of U.S. Representative Schakowsky and her colleagues—Representatives Lee, Speier, DeGette, Pressley and Torres—for their commitment to upholding abortion as a human right for all people. We urge all Members of Congress to immediately co-sponsor this landmark legislation and express their support for abortion access and human rights.”

About American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to fight poverty and pursue justice in the developing world. By supporting hundreds of social change organizations in 19 countries, we respond to the most pressing issues of our time—from disasters, genocide and hunger, to the persecution of women and minorities worldwide. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all.


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