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Old 01-23-2009, 08:10 PM   #1
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Obama reverses abortion policy

Obama reverses Bush abortion-funds policy - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday struck down the Bush administration's ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information — an inflammatory policy that has bounced in and out of law for the past quarter-century. Obama's executive order, the latest in an aggressive first week reversing contentious Bush policies, was warmly welcomed by liberal groups and denounced by abortion rights foes.

The ban has been a political football between Democratic and Republican administrations since GOP President Ronald Reagan first adopted it 1984. Democrat Bill Clinton ended the ban in 1993, but Republican George W. Bush re-instituted it in 2001 as one of his first acts in office.

A White House spokesman, Bill Burton, said Obama signed the executive order, without coverage by the media, late on Friday afternoon. The abortion measure is a highly emotional one for many people, and the quiet signing was in contrast to the televised coverage of Obama's Wednesday announcement on ethics rules and Thursday signing of orders on closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and banning torture in the questioning of terror suspects.

His action came one day after the 36th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion.

The Bush policy had banned U.S. taxpayer money, usually in the form of Agency for International Development funds, from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion as a family planning method.

Critics have long held that the rule unfairly discriminates against the world's poor by denying U.S. aid to groups that may be involved in abortion but also work on other aspects of reproductive health care and HIV/AIDS, leading to the closure of free and low-cost rural clinics.

Supporters of the ban say that the United States still provides millions of dollars in family planning assistance around the world and that the rule prevents anti-abortion taxpayers from backing something they believe is morally wrong.

The ban has been known as the "Mexico City policy" for the city a U.S. delegation first announced it at a U.N. International Conference on Population.

Both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will oversee foreign aid, had promised to do away with the rule during the presidential campaign. Clinton visited the U.S. Agency for International Development earlier Friday but made no mention of the step, which had not yet been announced.

In a move related to the lifting of the abortion rule, Obama is also expected to restore funding to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), probably in the next federal budget. Both he and Clinton had pledged to reverse a Bush administration determination that assistance to the organization violated U.S. law known as the Kemp-Kasten amendment.

The Bush administration had barred U.S. money from the fund, to contending that its work in China supported a Chinese family planning policy of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization. UNFPA has vehemently denied that it does.

Congress had appropriated $40 million to the UNFPA in the past budget year but the administration had withheld the money as it had done every year since 2002.

Organizations and lawmakers that had pressed Obama to rescind the Mexico City policy were jubilant.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the move "will help save lives and empower the poorest women and families to improve their quality of life and their future."

"Today's announcement is a very powerful signal to our neighbors around the world that the United States is once again back in the business of good public policy and ideology no longer blunts our ability to save lives around the globe," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Population Action International, an advocacy group, said that the policy had "severely impacted" women's health and that the step "will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, abortions and women dying from high-risk pregnancies because they don't have access to family planning."

Anti-abortion groups and lawmakers condemned Obama's decision.

"I have long supported the Mexico City Policy and believe this administration's decision to be counter to our nation's interests," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

"Coming just one day after the 36th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade decision, this presidential directive forces taxpayers to subsidize abortions overseas — something no American should be required by government to do," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., called it "morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans to promote abortion around the world."

"President Obama not long ago told the American people that he would support policies to reduce abortions, but today he is effectively guaranteeing more abortions by funding groups that promote abortion as a method of population control," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.

___

AP White House Correspondent Jennifer Loven contributed to this report.

ocia



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Old 01-23-2009, 08:30 PM   #2
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^ I applaud President Obama. Many people in Third World and developing nations around the world don't have access to proper medical care from their own government. If we're going to rightfully use some of our country's wealth in order to help these people, we first need to provide them information about contraception, and even abortion. If we provide the knowledge and supplies (condoms, etc) to these individuals in impoverished nations, we'll lower the abortion rate by default because there will be less unplanned and unwanted pregnancies that might lead to this situation. That's something that people who are anti-choice and those of us who are pro-choice can agree on. On an even more serious note, think of all the women who's lives may have been lost over the past 8 years in developing nations all over the world because these groups weren't getting the funds they needed to provide an abortion to a woman who otherwise may die without one. The bottom line is this: There is not a person on this planet that is pro-abortion. That's an anti-choicer myth. However there are situations, especially in poor countries (which this particular order refers to, in terms of international provisions) without proper nutrition, medical, and/or financial opportunities, where an abortion is the only way a woman's life can be saved or the only option for a woman who simply cannot care for a child for other reasons. To bring an innocent baby into that kind of life is the true cruelty.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:33 PM   #3
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WOO-HOO!!!
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:36 PM   #4
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Eight long years in the making.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:39 PM   #5
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ok. Im pro-life. So Im kinda biased But I think its sick, that MY tax payer money, is going to organizations to fund abortions. Why not use that money to aid debt relief in Africa or something else?
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:43 PM   #6
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Bossy boots.

on the reversal.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:44 PM   #7
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just try and imagine how it feels in my place or any one else who is anti-abortion, when you go to pay your taxes...
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:44 PM   #8
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Yay!

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ok. Im pro-life. So Im kinda biased But I think its sick, that MY tax payer money, is going to organizations to fund abortions. Why not use that money to aid debt relief in Africa or something else?
All sorts of shit I don't like that my taxes are funding too. It's part of life.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:45 PM   #9
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ok. Im pro-life. So Im kinda biased But I think its sick, that MY tax payer money, is going to organizations to fund abortions. Why not use that money to aid debt relief in Africa or something else?
Your tax dollars already do that at home, so your outrage should not be something new.

And how many of your fellow citizens thought it was sick that THEIR tax dollars funded the war in Iraq?
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:47 PM   #10
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ok. Im pro-life. So Im kinda biased But I think its sick, that MY tax payer money, is going to organizations to fund abortions. Why not use that money to aid debt relief in Africa or something else?
We do have money going towards debt relief, AIDS funding, etc. in Africa and Third World nations everywhere. It can't all go to one cause. My question is, Do you want a young, African woman who was raped or forced to marry an older man to die because she got sick during her pregnancy and can't afford an abortion? Do you want an African family to have a 6th child they can't afford, who could easily die of starvation before his or her 5th birthday, to have to be born into a world of nothing but suffering? Do you really consider either of those scenarios pro-life? What kind of lives are those? Wouldn't you want some of your tax-payer money, (some of which is going to go for international humanitarian aid, regardless) to go towards providing information about contraception, family planning and even abortion options to be provided to people in impoverished nations that could actually prevent abortions from even being needed much of the time?
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:47 PM   #11
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And how many of your fellow citizens thought it was sick that THEIR tax dollars funded the war in Iraq?
Probably a lot. But that's an entierly different subject.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:48 PM   #12
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Probably a lot. But that's an entierly different subject.
Well then you can swallow your bitter pill like they did theirs.

At least yours is pennies on the dollar compared to theirs.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:48 PM   #13
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just try and imagine how it feels in my place or any one else who is anti-abortion, when you go to pay your taxes...
I feel that way every time I realize that my tax dollars are going to fund a war in Iraq that has killed or injured thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and thousands of our brave men and women in the military.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:50 PM   #14
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It's about fucking time this ridiculous policy was abandoned. There were many very good organizations which had nothing to do with abortion that were denied funding simply because they talked about family planning.

I really don't give a shit that a man living in the US is pissed. Women all over the world were endangered by this stupid policy. That should have been pissing people off.
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:50 PM   #15
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We do have money going towards debt relief, AIDS funding, etc. in Africa and Third World nations everywhere. It can't all go to one cause. My question is, Do you want a young, African woman who was raped or forced to marry an older man to die because she got sick during her pregnancy and can't afford an abortion? Do you want an African family to have a 6th child they can't afford, who could easily die of starvation before his or her 5th birthday, to have to be born into a world of nothing but suffering? Do you really consider either of those scenarios pro-life? What kind of lives are those? Wouldn't you want some of your tax-payer money, (some of which is going to go for international humanitarian aid, regardless) to go towards providing information about contraception, family planning and even abortion options to be provided to people in impoverished nations that could actually prevent abortions from even being needed much of the time?
I couldn't have said it any better
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