Emory International Law Review


Leah Moczulski


Globally, there has been a significant backsliding in reproductive rights for women, encouraged, in part, by the implementation of anti-choice U.S. foreign policies. Specifically, the Helms Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 prohibits the use of U.S. foreign aid money to 'pay for the performance of abortions as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.' This Comment focuses particularly on the effect its provisions have on the response to the Zika virus in Latin America. One of the emerging harms of the existing interpretation of the Helms Amendment is the threat that the policy poses toward infectious disease prevention efforts in Latin America. Instead, Congress and executive agencies, like USAID, should interpret the text of the Helms Amendment narrowly, applying it to prevent abortion services only in true instances where abortion is used as a substitute for family planning.