USAID's Family Planning Guiding Principles and U.S. Legislative and Policy Requirements

Restrictions on Support for Abortions

Since the enactment of legislation in 1973, recipients of U.S. family planning assistance have been legally prohibited from supporting abortion as a method of family planning using U.S. funds. USAID is committed to expanding access to voluntary family planning and reducing unintended pregnancies which saves lives and reduces reliance on abortion. USAID continues to support post-abortion care, which includes emergency treatment, counseling on and provision of family planning options, and community mobilization.

The Helms Amendment

No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.

Under the Helms Amendment, post-abortion care is permitted. USAID post-abortion care programs include emergency treatment for complications of induced or spontaneous abortion, counseling on and provision of family planning options, and community mobilization.

Sources: Section 104(f) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended; Annual Foreign Operations Appropriations Acts.

The Leahy Amendment

The term "motivate," as it relates to family planning assistance, shall not be construed to prohibit the provision, consistent with local law, of information or counseling about all pregnancy options.

Source: Annual Foreign Operations Appropriations Acts.

The Siljander Amendment

No foreign assistance funds may be used to lobby for or against abortion.

Source: FY 2006 Appropriations Act, Title II, "Child Survival and Health Programs Fund" and/or Title V, Section 518.

The Biden Amendment

No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for any biomedical research which relates, in whole or in part, to methods of, or the performance of, abortions or involuntary sterilization as a means of family planning.

Sources: Section 104(f) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended; Annual Foreign Operations Appropriations Acts.

Mexico City Policy

On January 23, 2017, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum, which includes language related to the Mexico City Policy. Read the Memorandum here.

Principles & Policy Requirements

Restrictions on Support for Abortions

Voluntarism and Informed Choice

 

Last updated: January 26, 2017

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