Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) presented the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act which marks the first-ever legislation to repeal the Helms Amendment enacted in 1973.
Congress added the amendment to the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, which blocks federal funding as U.S. foreign assistance to fund abortions as a method of family planning — even in circumstances of rape, incest, or saving the mother’s life.
Booker said that in the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic overruling of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health last month, the decision has denied Americans access to “essential health care services” that will extend beyond U.S. borders.
“This disastrous decision will be felt around the world, setting back many countries who have long used Roe v. Wade as the basis to strengthen abortion rights protections in their own countries,” Booker said. “We must take immediate action to mitigate the global impact of this decision.”
Booker said the legislation that gained co-sponsorship from 21 other senators would ensure federal funding would give women “safe” abortion access overseas.
Repealing Helms in the Senate is unlikely, considering most Republicans celebrated the nation’s highest court for overturning Roe, which was responsible for the deaths of 63 million unborn children since 1973.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who prides himself as a pro-life Democrat, would likely vote with the red side of the chamber, considering he opposes reversing the Hyde Amendment. In most cases, this similar amendment bans using federal funds to pay for abortion.
Last fall, Manchin told National Review that a reconciliation bill pushed by House Democrats, which would create a new Medicaid-like program without the Hyde Amendment, would be “dead on arrival.”
“Yeah, we’re not taking the Hyde Amendment off,” Manchin said. “Hyde’s going to be on — it has to be. It has to be. That’s dead on arrival if that’s gone.”
President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order protecting women’s so-called reproductive health care services access in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling, claiming that the overturning of Roe v. Wade eliminated a woman’s constitutional right to choose.
Biden signed the executive order as a hopeful preliminary step for pro-choice politicians to codify abortion through Congress.
“President Biden has made clear that the only way to secure a woman’s right to choose is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe as federal law,” the statement reads. “Until then, he has committed to doing everything in his power to defend reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion.”
Biden has also considered declaring a public health emergency to protect abortion access, prompting Senate Republicans to introduce legislation blocking the president from using executive authority.
The Prohibiting Federal Emergencies for Abortion Act, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), would prohibit the president and Health and Human Services from promoting, supporting, or expanding access to abortion.
“President Biden and Democrats are hell-bent on preserving the practice of murdering unborn Americans,” Rubio said. “We should be protecting the lives of innocent babies, not Planned Parenthood’s ability to kill them. I will do everything I can to protect life and block this gross abuse of presidential power.”