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In today's wars, like ones of the past, rebels and government soldiers alike systematically use sexual violence against women and girls (and sometimes men and boys) to demoralize, terrorize, destroy and, in some cases, change the ethnic composition of entire communities.
The United Nations has strongly condemned the use of rape as a war tactic and called on and establish the rights of victims of war-time rape to include comprehensive sexual and reproductive health.
Survivors, however, are denied comprehensive medical care. Women who become pregnant as a result of rape are often unable to access abortion services because of US political barriers to safe abortion, and a misinterpretation of the Helms Amendment - a provision of the US law that prevents US foreign assistance for abortion "as a method of family planning" - but does allow US funds to help women obtain abortion care in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.
President Obama, however, has the power to break the political barriers women face in seeking comprehensive health care, including abortion, in warzones by taking executive action.
TAKE ACTION: Join us as we call upon President Obama to act NOW to protect the lives and health of women overseas!
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation 12/9/14; Center for Health and Gender Equity; Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice 12/9/14; Ms. Magazine Fall 2014; Feminist Majority Foundation Blog 8/25/13; Feminist Newswire 6/27/13
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