Global Justice Center Blog

Department of State FOIA re: abortion restrictions on foreign aid

February 27, 2012 – ongoing
Case F-2012-22928

GJC petitioned the State Department to obtain materials dating from January 1, 2008 dealing with any form of abortion restrictions on U.S. foreign aid, including standard clauses in State Dept. awards, materials relating to enforcement of the Helms and Siljander Amendments, and materials regarding abortion prohibitions and international NGOs. GJC also requested details on specific humanitarian awards, including “the purpose and scope of the award, implementing partners, and the portion of the award (or modification) containing abortion prohibitory language.”

Some of the responsive documents that GJC received deal with U.S. censorship of abortion-related speech even by U.S. citizens. Even under Obama (but at the request of three anti-choice members of Congress), the speech of then-US Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, was subjected to two extensive investigations by the Government Accountability Office and the State Department’s Office of Inspector General. The investigations centered on State Department support for constitutional reform in Kenya and whether any activities or speech of the Ambassador even tacitly expressed support for the abortion reform provision in the constitution.

State Department timeline (case F-2012-22928):