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Protect Women Worldwide

This petition had 588,982 supporters

Critically ill with lupus and kidney problems, Beatriz was also pregnant with a non-viable fetus. She was unlikely to survive carrying the pregnancy to term.

But Beatriz lives in El Salvador, which bans all abortions--regardless of the circumstances. She survived only because, after weeks of international pressure, her doctors were given special permission to induce labor and perform a C-section. El Salvador’s policies are indefensible. Even worse, though, is the fact that women throughout the developing world face similar circumstances every day, and are put at the same risk because of a flawed interpretation of a long-standing United States law.

The Helms Amendment, adopted in 1973, bars the use of U.S. foreign assistance to provide “abortion as a method of family planning.”  In practice, this law has been used to block abortions under any circumstance. The end result is that women in the most desperate of circumstances are denied safe abortions. Some 47,000 women die each year in developing countries from complications from unsafe abortions.

President Obama can change this with the stroke of a pen and make clear that U.S. funded health clinics around the world can provide safe abortions to women who’ve been raped, who are victims of incest, or whose lives would be threatened by carrying a pregnancy to term.

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