Claims that Lutheran World Relief Supports Abortion Funding are Erroneous

Recently, there has been a lot being reported and commented upon on Facebook and Twitter regarding a rumor that Lutheran World Relief (LWR) support abortion funding. LCMS Life Ministries wanted to share information regarding this situation and to clarify that these reports are erroneous. Below is a statement from LCMS Life Ministries, please share this with anyone who may be concerned.

Thank you.

Statement by LCMS Life Ministries
(September 26, 2013)

Claims that Lutheran World Relief Supports Abortion Funding are Erroneous

Recent claims by some media outlets that Lutheran World Relief has lobbied for government support of abortion funding are incorrect and misrepresent the work of the independent relief agency which works in partnership with the LCMS. To better understand why the claims are wrong, please know these facts about U.S. international humanitarian policy regarding abortion.

Although current U.S. international policy on funding for international abortions can be confusing, it is important to note the difference between the “Mexico City Policy” and the 1973 “Helms Amendment” to the Foreign Assistance Act. The Mexico City Policy, a U. S. policy that required all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services as a method of family planning, was rescinded by President Barack Obama two days after he took office in 2009.

Fortunately, USAID—the federal agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign humanitarian aid—is still governed by the Foreign Assistance Act, which includes the 1973 Helms Amendment ruling. The Helms Amendment bans the use of federal funds for abortion as a method of family planning anywhere in the world.

Lutheran World Relief is a member of InterAction, an alliance of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in international humanitarian work. InterAction recently crafted a letter signed by 142 organizations, including Lutheran World Relief, which calls Congress to support strong funding through USAID for international development and humanitarian assistance accounts in fiscal year 2014. This multi-signature letter is not a plea for increased abortion funding – something USAID is prohibited from doing – but simply a measure of advocacy directed to the current administration for continued humanitarian funding and support of USAID during a time of congressional budget decision-making.

Because USAID operates under the Helms Amendment, it is untrue to say that Lutheran World Relief has lobbied for abortion funding or supports abortion in any way.
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