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Break the Barriers: Stand with Women and Girls Raped in Conflict or Crisis

Break the Barriers: Stand with Women and Girls in Conflict and Crisis,” is an education and advocacy campaign designed to raise awareness around the barriers to comprehensive health care – including access to safe, voluntary abortions services – for women and girls raped in crisis or conflict. The campaign, which calls on President Obama to issue an executive order guaranteeing U.S. support for comprehensive post-rape care, was launched during a special event in December 2013 at The National Press Club, which brought together policy experts and women from the global south to discuss this important issue.

Featured Publications

The Legal Landscape for Abortion Provision In U.S. Foreign Assistance

Infographic: “Break the Barriers: Stand with Women and Girls Raped in Conflict or Crisis”

New Campaign Calls on Obama Administration to Support Access to Safe, Voluntary Abortion Services for Women and Girls Raped in Crisis or Conflict

Faith-based Leaders Call on Obama to Ensure Access to Abortion as Part of U.S. Foreign Policy

U.S./International NGO Leaders Call on Kerry to Ensure Global Sexual Violence Summit Addresses Access to Abortion

Take Action For Rape Surivors

Politico Ad from CHANGE and Faith-Based Leaders


U.S. urged to support abortions for crisis, conflict rape victims

Women’s groups seek U.S. funding for abortion care

U.S. Urged to Change Policy on Support to Victims of Sexual Violence

OpEd by Former USAID Administrator Brian Atwood: The president should clarify ‘Helms’ law to allow abortions for wars’ rape victims

Dealing with wartime rape means helping survivors obtain health care and abortions

Rights group calls for US foreign aid use on post-rape abortions in conflict zones

Women raped in crisis or conflict

Missing Executive Actions

Care for Rape Victims

Changing the Conversation on Sexual Violence in Conflict

#HelmsHurts: Critics discuss 40-year US ban on abortion funding abroad

Religious Leaders Pressure Obama To Improve Access To Safe Abortion Around The World

Faith leaders urge Obama to axe law restricting US abortion aid

Burwell wants to recover funds spent on failed exchanges - Senators: Serco paying employees to do nothing - Actuaries highlight 2015 premium drivers

Religious Leaders Urge Obama to Allow Abortion Funding in Foreign Aid

Women, Abortion, and Helms: Executive Action to Break Barriers

Will 'Safe From the Start' Bring Needed Change for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Conflict and Crisis?

Faith Leaders Urge Obama To Allow Safe Abortion Services In U.S. Funded Health Clinics Abroad

Rape in Conflict Continues

It’s Time To Listen to Voices of Women and Girls


A collection of online conversations, photos, and news stories about “Break the Barriers.”

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Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng, Executive Director of Isis-WICCE in Uganda, speaks about the needs of women and girls affected by conflict.

CCTV News Story: African Women Rights activists urge the U.S to support abortions for rape victims

Break the Barriers Press Club Event

Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng

Act Now for Women and Girls


National Press Club Event, December 11, 2013

Liesl Gerntholtz (l) from Human Rights Watch listens to Ruth Ojiambo Ochieng (r), executive director of Uganda-based ISIS-WICCE, as she talks about how women are the center of development in Africa, emphasizing that Africa cannot be successful if the minds, bodies, and spirits of women are broken.

Justine Masika Bihamba, executive director SFVS - based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, discusses the need for access to safe and voluntary abortion services for women and girls raped in conflict, noting that after being raped, survivors often must walk hundreds of miles to access any post-rape services at all.

A packed house at the National Press Club.

Liesl Gerntholtz, executive director of the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch talks about the immediate effects of executive leadership, which she said would free up money to provide needed services, training, and education.

CHANGE President Serra Sippel discusses the importance of executive leadership in guaranteeing U.S. support for comprehensive care - including access to safe and voluntary abortion services - for women and girls raped in crisis or conflict.