Thursday, January 29, 2009
Say Good-bye to Bad Policy
President Barack Obama repealed the international gag rule on the third day of his presidency. Set in place by President George W. Bush, the gag rule restricted any foreign organizations receiving U.S. funds to perform abortions, provide counseling, or work to make abortion more legal abroad, even with their own non-US dollars. A long-battled over piece of policy, the gag rule was first inflicted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and held in place by President George H.W. Bush. President Bill Clinton later repealed the order but it was once again reinstated in 2001. President Obama’s reversal of the gag rule will allow the United States to provide funds to groups that not only provide abortion care with their own funding, but also offer information and counseling about abortions, a strong and supportive move for international family planning. Obama’s quick break from the gag rule shows a sharp turn from the socially conservative policies of the Bush Administration, and a move towards a friendlier atmosphere for supporters of a woman’s right to choose in America and abroad. With this action, President Obama has declared his support for women’s health, safety and their right to family planning.