President-elect Barack Obama was “largely hesitant” to discuss abortion rights while campaigning, and he “had good reason to be apprehensive,” a Washington Times editorial says, adding that abortion-rights groups “want to pull out all the stops, and their wish list has no bounds.” The editorial states that abortion-rights advocates are lobbying Obama’s transition team to “remove all restrictions on abortion instituted by President Bush and Republican-led Congresses over the last eight years.”
According to the editorial, a 55-page policy paper, “Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration,” was posted on the Obama transition team’s Change.gov Web site this week but “was ripped from the page in less than a day.” The editorial also says that more than 60 abortion-rights groups “signed onto the First 100 Days policy plan.” The issues and changes the groups are lobbying for include $700 million for family planning programs under Title X; eliminating the “Mexico City” policy, also known as the “global gag rule,” which prohibits foreign organizations that receive U.S. family planning funding from using their own funds to provide abortions or advocate their governments about the procedure; and the reversal of the proposed HHS “conscience” rule that would allow health care providers who receive federal grants to refuse to provide information or services based on their moral or religious beliefs, the editorial says. “Pro-choice groups cried foul when abortion was defined as ‘a form of contraception,’ the same code language that state governments were using to force hospitals to provide them in the first place,” the editorial says. The policy paper “even calls for more funding” for the United Nations Population Fund, the editorial says, adding, “We are always more interested in which populations they decide need controlling and why.”
The editorial continues, “Perhaps the greatest overreach is that associated with the groups’ request that [Obama] eliminate ‘abstinence-only’ education programs.” Obama “should take note here that such programs were authored and funded by” President Clinton. According to the editorial, “Many Republicans and Democrats are removing abortion litmus tests for appointees and judges,” but the policy paper “encourages” Obama to “‘only ‘nominate individuals who … demonstrate a commitment to justice, civil rights, equal rights, individual liberties and the fundamental constitutional right to privacy, including the right to have an abortion.'”
The editorial says that although Obama “may not have wanted to talk about abortion during the campaign, … the campaign is over.” It concludes, “He must not bow to pressure and lift restrictions on abortion. Pro-life Americans voted for him too” (Washington Times, 12/18).
Reprinted with kind permission from http://www.nationalpartnership.org. You can view the entire Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery here. The Daily Women’s Health Policy Report is a free service of the National Partnership for Women & Families, published by The Advisory Board Company.
2008 The Advisory Board Company. All rights reserved.
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