Almost as soon as abortion was legalized in the United States in 1973 under the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, anti-abortion politicians set out to restrict funding for and access to abortion care in the United States and overseas through foreign assistance. In the decades that followed, these politicians continued to add additional restrictions through legislation and appropriations, such as the Helms and Siljander amendments, as well as executive actions taken by various presidents, like the Global Gag Rule. With so many troubling policies in place, they are often confused or conflated with one another.
To help clarify where, when and how these policies came about and the harmful impacts of each, PAI has developed a fact sheet highlighting a few of the key U.S. abortion-related provisions abroad and at home. The policies listed here represent only a fraction of those that govern U.S. sexual and reproductive health and rights in domestic and foreign assistance programs.