Among a slew of executive orders Barack Obama is said to be drafting, observers believe one may lift a ban on US funding for overseas family planning groups that even dare mention abortion.
by Karin Zeitvogel, AFP
Among a slew of executive orders Barack Obama, pictured in October 2008, is said to be drafting, observers believe one may lift a ban on US funding for overseas family planning groups that even dare mention abortion.(AFP/File/Emmanuel Dunand)
“I think there’s a very good likelihood that he will lift the ‘global gag rule,'” said Steven Mosher, head of the pro-life, non-profit Population Research Institute.
“The previous Democratic president Bill Clinton just a couple of days after being sworn in signed a whole series of executive orders which undid the policies of the previous two administrations,” Mosher said.
First introduced by Republican president Ronald Reagan in 1984, the “global gag rule” cuts off US funding to overseas family planning clinics which provide any abortion services whatsoever, from the operation itself to counselling, referrals or post-abortion services.
When President George W. Bush came into office in 2000, he immediately reversed Clinton’s orders once again freezing funds to many family planning groups.
US funds to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) have been blocked since 2002, with the State Department saying the UN agency supports China’s one-child policy, which is says amounts to coercive abortion.
A baby takes a drink as he waits outside a children’s hospital in Beijing in late September. China has a policy allowing parents to have only one child. Some say this is coercive birth control and leads to forced abortions. AFP/File/Peter Parks
“The Bush administration has said the UNFPA supports coercive birth control methods and that’s why they’re blocking money to it,” said Tait Sye, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).
“The problem is that UNFPA money goes towards things like family planning and contraception, too,” vital services in developing countries, he added.
A World Bank report published in July said women in developing countries, where access to contraception is poor, often turn to abortion as a means of birth control.