On Friday, January 23rd, President Obama lifted the “global gag rule” by executive order. The policy prohibited international organizations receiving federal funding to talk about abortion as an option. In the Winter 2008 issue of Censorship News, in our “issues to watch” with the upcoming Obama Administration, we wrote:
The “global gag rule,” created by executive order, prohibits federally-funded international health and family planning organizations from telling women about the availability of abortion even in countries where it is legal. Equally troubling, under current law women in this country are denied access to information about abortion in federally-funded family planning clinics, even if those clinics don’t provide abortions. These gag rules censor valuable speech.
We’re happy to see this rule lifted. For more on this decision, here’s an article by Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. Excerpt:
Repealing the global gag rule is a critical step, but more work must be done to reverse the damage done by the Bush administration to women’s health. In the short term, removing abstinence-only requirements in AIDS funding, and increasing foreign assistance for reproductive health — including $1 billion for family planning — will move us in the right direction.
Planned Parenthood also has a form letter to send to the President praising the decision and encouraging him “to show the good judgment and compassion you demonstrated by overturning the global gag rule.”