No More Gag Rule
Posted by caitlinate on January 25, 2009
This has very little to do with Australia directly but as it affects women all over the world I’m posting on it. And because I’m so excited and happy it has happened I want to share it with everyone!
Barack Obama on Friday struck down the Bush administration’s ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information. These are usually clinics that also work on other aspects of reproductive health care and HIV/AIDS and the result of the ban is generally the closure of free and/or low-cost rural clinics. Bush’s policy made it more difficult for women around the world to gain access to information and health care services, meaning many women are deprived of contraception and other health services in poor countries, leading to back-alley abortions and deaths
“Rather than limiting women’s ability to receive reproductive health services, we should be supporting programs that help women and their partners make decisions to ensure their health and the health of their families.”
– Hillary Clinton
ALSO! Obama also said he would restore funding to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA). UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programs that attempt to reduce poverty, protect women’s health, prevent HIV/AIDS, and ensure that “every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.” They’re big on gender equality being a human right and the importance of empowering women, supporting projects that improve women’s health and expand their choices in life. 180 other nations are already involved and the U.S. Congress has approved $40 million every year to go to the fund. Every single time the Bush administration blocked the funds.
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund responded to the action with the following:
“The president’s actions send a strong message about his leadership and his desire to support causes that will promote peace and dignity, equality for women and girls and economic development in the poorest regions of the world. We are confident that under the new president’s direction, the U.S. will resume its leadership in promoting and protecting women’s reproductive health and rights worldwide.”
This signals fantastic things for women in the world, particularly those living in poorer nations. I am so excited that these actions are some of the first Obama would take and it signals to me a continuation of his wider commitment to women’s rights. With Obama, Biden and Clinton is such powerful positions I’m really excited about the progress that could be made in women’s rights internationally in the next four years
P.s. Think this isn’t that big a step? Check out the major league voices of dissent… oh Charmaine Yoest, how you make my uterus bleed. (We won’t even go into the comments from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell or the House Minority Leader John Boehner. Ick.)