The Helms Amendment, passed more than 40 years ago, prevents U.S. foreign assistance funds from being used to pay for abortion as "a method of family planning" or "to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions." Though legislation passed in 1994 clarified that women in countries receiving aid could be counseled on all pregnancy options, including abortion, the Helms Amendment is often implemented as an outright ban.
According to a new report from Al Jazeera, U.S. anti-abortion policy leads to disturbing outcomes overseas, even in countries where abortion is legal: For instance, in Ethiopia, "a woman living in an area where health facilities receive USAID support will be denied the abortion care that is legal in her own country, whereas a woman living in a different district funded by another donor will have access to safe care," according to Al Jazeera. More than 100 women die each day from complications of unsafe abortions, often in poor countries that receive aid from the U.S. for other medical treatments.
Research from the World Health Organization has shown that when abortion access is high, fewer women have unsafe abortions. One study in Nepal showed that decriminalizing abortion cut its maternal mortality rate in half, but U.S. anti-abortion views continue to be exported at the expense of women around the world.
CORRECTION: A previous version of the map mislabeled West Africa and East Africa. We regret the error.