Obama lifts ban on abortion “global gag rule”
It seems like President Barack Obama is in a hurry to make his mark in Washington.
On Friday, the president signed an executive order lifting the ban on U.S. funding for international organizations that offer advice or perform abortions.
Liberal groups welcomed the decision, while abortion rights foes vowed to fight the move.
Obama signed the bill without media coverage, in contrast to the public signing of other executive orders he has conducted since being inaugurated on Tuesday.
The ban was also known as the “global gag rule” because it prohibited taxpayer funding for groups that even talk about abortion if there is unplanned pregnancy.
First introduced by Republican president Ronald Reagan in 1984, it has been repeatedly overturned by Democratic administrations and then reintroduced by the Republicans.
Organizations that had pressed Obama to make the abortion-ban change were jubilant.
“Women’s health has been severely impacted by the cutoff of assistance. President Obama’s actions 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,” said Tod Preston, a spokesman for Population Action International, an advocacy group.
Anti-abortion groups criticized the move.
“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.