Obama Expected to Overturn Global Gag Rule

I think that most of us were hoping for this already, but like Jessica I just really want to give the fact that Barack Obama is expected to swiftly overturn the Global Gag Rule its own post.

The new president is also expected to lift a so-called global gag rule barring international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion, even in countries where the procedure is legal, said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he rescinded the Reagan-era regulation, known as the Mexico City policy, but Bush reimposed it.

“We have been communicating with his transition staff” almost daily, Richards said. “We expect to see a real change.”

The Global Gag Rule literally kills thousands and thousands of women every year by putting already over-stretched clinics in an impossible position.  They must generally choose between either having no money to provide life-saving care, or providing care while breaking doctor-patient trust and actively doing harm by deceit.  What the hell do you choose?

Different organizations have different answers, but the fact is that it shouldn’t be a question.  Doctors should be able to answer their patients’ inquiries honestly.  Abortion should be treated as the routine and sometimes life-saving medical procedure that it is.  And women deserve quality reproductive health care, whatever their needs.  No woman should die because “pro-life” organizations on another continent have a superiority complex and think their tax dollars should only go to providing care for women they deem worthy enough.

Repealing the Global Gag Rule is only a start, but it’s a huge first step towards a real culture of life — one that respects and cares for the lives of women.  And it’s absolutely at the very top of my list of things President Obama can do quickly and decisvely to make the world a better place within his first hours in the Oval Office.  If he intends to live up to his campaign promises to protect women’s health and show the world that we’re more than a bunch of self-absorbed ideological assholes, he absolutely must do it.  And I eagerly look forward to the moment when he does, because it will not come a moment too soon.

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22 comments for “Obama Expected to Overturn Global Gag Rule

  1. November 11, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    President Bush reinstated the Global Gag Rule on his first day in office eight years ago. If he’s smart, and he is, Obama will overturn it on his first day in office.

    It’ll be like an eight-year-old call-and-response.

  2. November 11, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Well, no matter whats going on now, the economy is number 1, and he will be basically taking over after eight years of a drunken fraternity party

  3. falloch
    November 11, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    If, fingers crossed, Obama does rescind the Global Gag Rule, we all need to write and congratulate him. In fact, every good move he makes, we need to support him through emails, phonecalls, letters, etc. We also need to call him out when he does something we’re not happy with, but I really believe positive reinforcement will go a long way here, and goes along with the temper of most of his campaign. If we’re vocal in supporting him, then when we criticize we’ve also got more traction.

  4. November 11, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Uh, rawdawgbuffalo, I’m pretty sure that Obama can take one eye off of the economy for the literally 2 seconds it will take him to sign his name to a piece of paper that overturns the Global Gag Rule. Two minutes if he chooses to do a photo-op. Seriously, I think that all of our money problems can wait that utterly minute amount of time to save the lives and improve the health and personal autonomy of thousands and thousands of women all over the world. Sheesh.

    And that’s a great point, Falloch.

  5. Marianne
    November 11, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    I hope hope hope these predictions are true. I’m definitely on board for writing him when he kicks ass.

  6. Abby
    November 11, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Absolutely. I’m very, very pleased about this. And Falloch, thanks for bringing that up – I look forward to giving President Obama major kudos when he repeals the Gag Rule.

  7. November 11, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    It would be a nice belated Christmas gift. However for the thousands-upon-thousands of women– and their families– abroad, it means becoming an informed, active agent in one’s reproductive health decisions, and ultimately their destinies.

  8. SunlessNick
    November 11, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Yeah. Overturning this death law would be a good way to start his time in office.

  9. Caren
    November 12, 2008 at 1:26 am

    I remember waking up the day after Bill Clinton had be inaugurated. When he repealed the gag rule and allowed stem cell research among others. It was like waking up in a sci-fi tale.

    I’m so looking forward to waking up in Obama’s America.

  10. November 12, 2008 at 1:34 am

    I won’t even know what to do with myself when we finally have a president who has respect for basic human rights/doesn’t have policies based in mythology and craziness…

  11. November 12, 2008 at 3:29 am

    I’m 100% in favour a massive outpouring of props to President Obama *swoon* if (when!) he overturns the gag rule, but why wait? Why not get on it now?

    “Dear President-elect Obama,

    I’m writing to express my undying delight that, not only have you been elected to the highest office in the nation, you also plan to overturn the Global Gag Rule on your first day in office. This act of compassion and moral courage has shown the world that you are ready on day one to show the leadership America and our world needs in a time of change.

    May you continue to be a beacon of wisdom and hope throughout your many prosperous and idyllic years in office.

    For the great good,
    [your name]”

    Ok, that may be a bit purple, but I say if we set the expectations really really high, he’ll strive to live up to them. If we thank him in advance, he’ll _have_ to do it right away.

  12. Kristen from MA
    November 12, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Thanks falloch and RyanRutley for the idea. And thanks again RR for the text (I did change it a little bit).

    If anyone else is interested, here is the link to email Obama:


  13. Dan M
    November 12, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    What should be done:

    Step 1: Issue the executive order to rescind the rule. We’re talking executive order here, right, not law?

    Step 2: Have Congress pass an actual law so that this issue isn’t subject only to executive order! Stopping at having the President make the policy isn’t enough. That’s what has resulted in the seesawing back and forth as presidential parties change. If it’s that important, it should be a law.

  14. November 12, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Another great idea, Dan. And yes, we’re currently talking about an executive order.

  15. November 13, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Kisten: I didn’t expect anybody to actually use it, but I’m glad I was helpful. And yes, I expect that you would *cough* “refine” it a bit before sending.

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