Human Rights

Why Hillary Clinton is wrong about the Helms Amendment


During a recent town hall meeting in Iowa, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, a strong proponent of abortion rights and ally of Planned Parenthood, said she thinks the United States should help rape victims of war by “finding a way to get around a law that bars U.S. foreign assistance funds for abortion.” This law is the Helms Amendment, passed in 1973.

According to, the Helms Amendment “prohibits the United States from offering certain types of family planning to women who have been raped in conflict zones.”

Clinton talked about how rape is increasingly being used as a weapon of war by “the most vicious militias and insurgent groups and terrorist groups.”

The subjugation of women to rape is horrific and heartbreaking, even more so in cases of war. We must do our best to bring the rapists to justice. We must let the victims know that they are loved, and ensure that they get all of the medical attention that they need. But abortion is not the answer.

Sister Lucy Vertrusc is a nun who, in 1995, was brutally raped by Serbian soldiers during the war in former Yugoslavia. As a result of the attack, she became pregnant. In a beautiful letter she wrote to her Mother Superior, Sister Lucy writes of the pain forced upon her by her aggressors, and of the sorrow. But her letter is anything but depressing. If anything, it is one of great hope and beauty. Sister Lucy also writes of love, and of how she has chosen to not only carry the child forced into her womb, but how she has decided to raise him. She ends the letter by writing this:

Someone has to break the chain of hatred that has always destroyed our countries. And so, I will teach my child only one thing: love. This child, born of violence, will be a witness along with me that the only thing that gives honor to a human being is forgiveness.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton says of women like Sister Lucy who would choose life: “They will be total outcasts if they have the child of a terrorist or the child of a militia member. Their families won’t take them, their communities won’t take them.”

In cases of rape, abortion is always framed as the loving option. But who sounds more loving – Sister Lucy, or Hillary Clinton? You decide.

This child, born of violence, will be a witness along with me that the only thing that gives honor to a human being is forgiveness.

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