Life  Strengthen International Pro-Life Work  Policy Brief  Abortion

ERLC Supports International Pro-Life Appropriations Riders

Strengthen International Pro-Life Work

Southern Baptists affirm that every life is worthy of protection, beginning with the preborn, and that abortion denies precious human lives both personhood and protection. Scripture is clear that every person is made in the image of God—including the preborn—and his knowledge of the preborn even precedes conception (Jer. 1:5; Psa. 139:13).

The Helms Amendment prohibits federal funding of abortion through international diplomacy and aid work. The Helms Amendment is a budgetary provision within the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) appropriations bill that states “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.” Although recent presidential budget proposals have excluded these amendments, this provision has been included in the annual appropriations packages passed by Congress since 1973.

Pro-life riders are essential in protecting life and ensuring conscience protections for millions of American taxpayers and foreign aid workers. Two other provisions include the Siljander and Kemp-Kasten amendments. The Siljander Amendment prevents organizations from using federal funds to lobby for abortion internationally and prohibits the federal government from lobbying for or against abortion, effectively requiring the American government to be neutral on abortion. The Kemp-Kasten prohibits organizations that support coercive abortion or sterilization from receiving federal funds.

The ERLC rejects any attempts to weaken or remove these amendments and will continue to advocate against any government funding of abortions abroad. Additionally, the ERLC would like to see expanded protections for life in international funding eventually reinstated, such as the Trump-era Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy. It is vital that Congress again includes this family of riders as a baseline that protects the lives and consciences of millions of people around the world.

Strengthen International Pro-Life Work

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