Planned Parenthood fights to allow some abortions under foreign aid

Planned Parenthood is pressuring the Obama administration to allow foreign aid to pay for some abortions, specifically in cases of rape or incest, or when a pregnancy endangers the woman's life.

The new campaign comes as abortion-rights groups around the country highlight what they call a misreading of the Helms Amendment, a piece of language enacted in 1973 that prohibits foreign aid from paying for abortions "as a method of family planning."

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According to Planned Parenthood and its counterparts, the Obama administration should no longer interpret this as a blanket ban on foreign aid funding for abortion services.

"Women already face enormous obstacles to care," said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in a statement. "In correctly implementing the Helms Amendment, the Obama administration has an unprecedented opportunity to help women in desperate need around the world."

The group noted that it is only calling for emergency abortion funding in countries where terminating a pregnancy is legal.

The push follows abortion-rights groups' victory in lifting a longstanding ban on abortion coverage for female Peace Corps volunteers who are victims of rape or incest, or who have a life-endangering pregnancy.

December's government funding bill included the change after Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenThis week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting Open Skies withdrawal throws nuclear treaty into question GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill MORE (D-N.H.) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) shepherded language through the vote.

The success lent momentum to the latest push, which Planned Parenthood announced in an email message to supporters Thursday morning.

Abortion-rights opponents say the administration should continue to use its current interpretation of the Helms Amendment to prevent tax dollars from funding abortions.