Barack Obama has made good on his promise to lift the heinous global gag rule that George Bush had imposed on
his own first day in office.
The global gag rule deprived many overseas health clinics of crucial U.S. funding because they provided reproductive services or engaged in health care advocacy that the Bush Administration and its rabid rightwing base objected to.
As a result, these clinics—which serve as a lifeline to impoverished women all over the Third World—had to cut their services, see fewer patients, or close down.
Today, President Obama has taken a tremendous step in righting the wrongs perpetrated against women around the world by the Bush Administration, said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Unsafe abortion kills nearly
70,000 women around the world each year. The gag rule prevented women’s health organizations that received U.S. funds from advocacy against restrictive laws that lead to these deaths.
The Center for Reproductive Rights added that the global gag rule had a devastating impact on health care providers and women in nearly sixty countries.
It hailed Obama’s decision, which he made by executive order, as a victory for providers and nongovernmental organizations and for the advancement of free speech and civil engagement.
But the Vatican is not so impressed
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The Vatican has predictably condemned President Obama's move to restore US funding for family planning clinics abroad that give advice on or
carry out abortions.
One Vatican official warned against the arrogance of those in power who think they can decide between life and death. Another official said it dealt a blow to groups fighting against the slaughter of the innocents.
In an interview published in an Italian newspaper, senior Vatican official Monsignor Rino Fisichella urged Obama to listen to all voices in America without the arrogance of those who, being in power, believe they can decide of life and death. If this is one of President Obama's first acts, I have to say, in all due respect, that we're heading quickly toward disappointment.