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January 25th, 2009
08:27 AM ET

Obama repeals global gag rule

Daniel Pellegrom
RH RealityCheck.org

President Obama signed an executive order late Friday afternoon ending the Global Gag Rule.

President Obama's decision to lift the Global Gag Rule gives me extraordinary reason to rejoice. I became Pathfinder International's president in 1985, shortly after President Reagan imposed the original version of the Global Gag Rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy). I have openly opposed the gag rule, working for its repeal ever since.

At Pathfinder, we challenged this harmful policy in federal court in the late 1980s. Although we did not obtain an outright victory in the courts, the lawsuit forced the U.S. government to clarify what activities were legally permissible under the rule, paving the way for resumption of life-saving post-abortion medical services. Indeed, that legal challenge revealed to the court that among the repercussions of the U.S. gag rule were the preventable deaths of women in the globe's poorest countries.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Isabel, RJ, Brazil

    Many religions have conservative views on family planning, both as a Catholic Religion. But we can have more moderate outlook allowing contraception and abortion when necessary.

    In Catholicism, this moderate doctrine has been hidden from the public.
    The Bible does not condemn abortion. For example, in Exodus 21:22, which speaks of miscarriage caused by accident, the law imposed a financial penalty for the man who, "during a fight," caused a miscarriage by accident. This section deals with the right man's progeny. He could receive a fine as punishment, but can not be the law of "eye for an eye" as if it had killed one person.

    January 26, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  2. Isabel, RJ, Brazil

    Although catholic, I follow the Catholic Doctrine Moderate on contraception and abortion. However, what is this?

    In the Catholic church doesn't have a single current doctrine on contraception and abortion. However, the best known is the conservative doctrine advocated by the Pope, for many members of the hierarchy, and also by a significant minority of Catholic theologians. This doctrine insists that all forms of artificial contraception and abortion are against the laws of God. For this conservative perspective, contraceptive methods can not even be used by a person whose spouse is infected with HIV. Certainly this is a possible reading of Catholic and Christian traditions, but many people consider it extreme. And I am part of that group, although catholic.

    The family planning is so essential to human life as the reason. If there is an excessive growth of population, the nature kill us all, from hunger, disease or an environmental destruction, as in many parts of the world. The alternative to these ills is the family planning.

    In a perfect world, where contraceptive methods were available to all people, where women and men were educated and where mutual respect; where poverty does not cause damage to life, this kind of utopia, the abortion, would be very rare. But our world is not a utopia. In a world where there are unwanted pregnancies and unplanned, a woman should be able to abort for serious reasons and sound.

    January 26, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  3. Betty Harry

    I was really excited about the Obama era, but that is fadeing fast. In his campaign he said he would not sent money to other countries, then in the first days, he is for abortions. Then he waived his policy for a lobbist on his staff, then selected Geithner for treasure. How much more? I'm beginning to think we don't know him at all. Hillery wanting to cut costs for defense. He was also cockey saying I Won. I don't think their is going to be many people is going to be satisfied to where he is takeing this country. This is starting to worry me a lot. I think politicans have ruined this country, working with lobbiests and special intrest groups.

    January 25, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  4. Joanne, Solvay, NY

    It is good to live in a world whre the value of freedom is not strangled by conflict in religious rule. America's foreign policy is quickly shedding the midevil restraints that had evolved over the past 8 years.

    January 25, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  5. Ronald Faler

    Mr. Cooper; Thanks for your tenacity in reporting. Please don't back down. Hope this gov. has not threatened you in some way but it would not suprise me if they have. I have sent a few Q's to the main CNN e-mail address but once here i wish to ask you also. Have you heard of / about the theft of American cargo ships in Chine by the Chinese Gov. ?? It was in obscure corner of a local paper as if it was nothing. ?? !! ? Have – has CNN reported on this?? If so where could I find this report? Thanks & keep on reportin' 🙂
    Sincerely Ron

    January 25, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  6. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    P.S. Maybe just maybe a just God will finally begin to smile on us once again after eight years of disasters , murderous policies and human suffering as the compassionate and caring people we are who believe in the rights of all humanity to decide for themsleves which path is correct and which is not. God alone not Christian Fundamentalists or Religious Fundamentalist in general will make the choices of sinner or saint in teh hereafter not US or OUR GOVERNMENT or ANY Government for that matter !!!!!

    January 25, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  7. Amanda-Ontario Canada

    Applaud, Applaud– for President Obama and for Pathfinder and the people behind it. You have accomplished much with great hope and not giving up. You both have played a great part in change and are paving the way for the future of those less fortunate, giving and spreading hope

    I certainly hope President Obama reads this and upholds what he can where he can on your requests and concerns.

    January 25, 2009 at 9:23 am |