Abortion Access in Conflict

Since the passing of Roe vs. Wade, the United States has been placing abortion restrictions on its foreign aid. These restrictions impact thousands of girls and women raped in armed conflict who are routinely denied access to safe abortions.

Women and girls raped in war are considered “wounded and sick” and therefore are entitled to full medical care under the Geneva Conventions. For rape victims, this medical care includes abortion services. Our Abortion Access in Conflict campaign demands women and girls receive the necessary medical care they need.

GJC is fighting for the US to lift the abortion restrictions placed on all humanitarian aid for war victims and do so while explicitly referencing the rights of female war victims under the Geneva Conventions. We are fighting to ensure that abortions are provided on the ground in humanitarian medical settings around the world.


President Obama Urged to End U.S. Violation of the Rights of Rape Survivors in Armed Conflict

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—August 25, 2011

To coincide with the anniversary of the U.S. signing the Geneva Conventions, the Global Justice Center launched the global “August 12th”campaign to urge President Obama to immediately lift the “no abortion” restriction attached to all U.S. humanitarian aid for medical care given to girls and women raped and impregnated in armed conflict.

[NEW YORK, NY] – Thousands of girls and women raped and impregnated in armed conflict face additional suffering by being routinely denied abortions in humanitarian medical settings. The Geneva Conventions mandate “comprehensive” and “non-discriminatory” medical care to the wounded and sick during armed conflict and United Nations treaty bodies and courts characterize deliberate denial of abortion to impregnated rape victims as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Yet, the United States (the “U.S.”) attaches a “no abortion” prohibition to all U.S. humanitarian aid, including for war rape victims whose rights are guaranteed under the laws of war. Therefore, the Global Justice Center (the “GJC”) coordinated a consortium of over 3,000 leading legal, human rights, public health and humanitarian organizations and experts from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, and Latin & South America to urge President Obama to immediately lift the “no abortion” restriction attached to all U.S. humanitarian aid. Click here to view the GJC’s letter to the President.

Amanitare's Letter to President Obama

Letter sent to President Obama by Amanitare as a part of the GJC's "August 12th Campaign" asking that he issue an Executive Order lifting US abortion restrictions on humanitarian aid.

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Reality Check, “Why Is The U.S. Waging War on Women Raped in War?”

Reality Check publishes an article titled "Why is the U.S. Waging War on Women Raped in War?" by Kristina Kallas and Akila Radhakrishnan - both GJC team members.

This article discusses the crises caused by rape as a weapon of war, and the lack of adequate response from the US. The article explains that though the 1973 Helms Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act allows for abortion funding in cases of rape in armed conflict, it has been interpreted differently. Post-abortion care for unsafe abortions is not enough, and these women and girls are still being denied the right to safe abortion services.

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Women's Link Worldwide Letter to President Obama

Letter sent to President Obama by Women's Link Worldwide as a part of the GJC's "August 12th Campaign" asking that he issue an Executive Order lifting US abortion restrictions on humanitarian aid.

The letter was also signed by: Asociacion y lideres en Accion, Colombia; Catolicas por el derecho a decidir, Colombia; Rincon Perfetti Abogados y Consultores Internationales, Colombia; Fundacion Orientame, Colombia; International Federation of Women Lawyers, Uganda; Fundacion Colombia Diversa, Colombia; Centro de Estudios Interdisciplinario sobre las Mujeres; Fundacion para la Formacion de Lideres Afrocolombianos Afolider, Colombia; and Conferencia National de Organizaciones Afrocolombianas Cnoa, Colombia.

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Reproductive Rights Organizations Group Letter

Letter sent to President Obama by a group of Reproductive Rights organizations as a part of the GJC's "August 12th Campaign" asking that he issue an Executive Order lifting US abortion restrictions on humanitarian aid.

The letter was signed by: American Medical Women's Association; Center for Reproductive Rights; International Planned Parenthood Federation; Ipas; Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape; Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights; and Women on Waves.

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The August 12th Campaign: Urge President Obama to Rescind the Abortion Restrictions Placed on All Us Humanitarian Aid for Girls and Women Raped in Armed Conflict

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July, 2011

GJC President Janet Benshoof: “The “no abortion” policy, attached to all US humanitarian aid for victims of rape in armed conflicts, is both deadly and illegal. Now is the time to pressure President Obama to bring the U.S. in compliance with the Geneva Conventions by lifting this ban which he has authority to do with an executive order.”

[NEW YORK, NY]- August 12, 2011 will mark the 62nd anniversary of the adoption of the Geneva Convention of 1949. This cornerstone of International Humanitarian Law (“IHL”) extends to “wounded and sick” civilians the right to comprehensive and non-discriminatory medical care during armed conflict. Yet today one group of civilian victims – namely girls and women impregnated through rape during armed conflict – is routinely denied complete medical care in international humanitarian settings. Specifically, these victims are denied the option of abortion in violation of their rights under the Geneva Conventions and IHL.