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Roe v. Wade Anniversary - Obama's First Opportunity to Act as a Pro-Choice President

By January 22, 2009

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Early on in the presidential campaign of a certain US senator, there was no doubt that the man was pro-choice. So pro-choice, in fact, that he made clear his position on the Freedom of Choice Act, a bill that would repeal dozens of restrictions states have placed on abortions. An item from yesterday's McClatchy Newspapers turns the clock back to remind us of the candidate's pledge:
As an Illinois legislator and U.S. senator, Obama compiled a strong voting record in support of abortion rights.

"The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," Obama told a national gathering of Planned Parenthood members in July 2007.

Obama added: "On this fundamental issue, I will not yield."

So, President Obama, what will you do to recognize this 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade? Will you take action to repeal some of the Bush administration's most egregious attempts to block women from this legal procedure?

A segment that aired earlier on NPR's "Morning Edition" reviews what Obama can do today to effectively support access to safe and legal abortions, not only in the US but worldwide. As NPR explains it, with the Roe v. Wade anniversary falling so close to the presidential inauguration, the date has become a sort of tug-of-war between pro-life and pro-choice camps; it serves as the first and most public opportunity for a new president to make his mark:

It's...likely...President Barack Obama will reverse at least a few of the anti-abortion policies of George W. Bush.

By now, it's become something of a tradition.

In 2001, just two days after he took office, Bush used the Roe anniversary to issue executive orders reversing some of the abortion rights policies of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, just as Clinton had used his first Roe anniversary, in 1993, to override some of the anti-abortion policies of President George H.W. Bush.

NPR reporter Julie Rovner cites the "Mexico City policy" as the item President Obama is most likely to take action on. Frequently referred to as the "global gag rule," it prohibits U.S. foreign aid assistance to international family planning groups that "perform or promote" abortion.

Others are aiming a little higher in their expectations. US Senators Patty Murray (WA) and Barbara Boxer (CA) along with U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (CO) and Louise Slaughter (NY) are sending a letter to President Obama today asking him to begin the formal process of rescinding the "Right of Conscience" rule pushed through by President Bush in the final days of his administration. As the letter states:

The rule purports to interpret three existing federal refusal clauses...that allow certain health care providers to deny abortion and sterilization services to patients. In fact, the newly finalized rule...goes much further....and could jeopardize womenís access to needed healthcare services, including contraception.
Will President Obama act on either of these restrictive policies which needlessly create roadblocks for women by denying them full access to all their reproductive and healthcare options? He's still got six hours or so to make his mark. Let's hope that the evening news cycle reveals a man whose actions as president are as good as his words as a candidate.


January 23, 2009 at 2:58 am
(1) JF says:

Why is it wrong for a health care worker to not treat someone for an abortion because of their religious beliefs? I had a Catholic GYN who would not tie my tubes. I had to find another to do it while having a c-section of my 2nd child. It was not in this mans beliefs to do a tuba ligation. There are other doctors & nurses that will do abortions for patients yet why should anyone have that on their conscience for the rest of their lives? Would you want to walk a mile in those peopleís shoes that do abortions everyday? I wouldn’t! They are committing murder & they know it! They are not saving lives! Those doctors took an oath to save lives yet their conscience tells them they are destroying viable births. You folks who think these medical professionals sleep at night or have an easy time with life with terminating pregnancies guess what…you are wrong. God is speaking to these Medical Professionals through thousands of people who pray over these abortionists to stop what they do. God comes to them in their sleep, or while they are doing their work & they know God disapproves of their deeds. Just so you know Jesus is our intercessor & intercedes on our behalf on our fervent prayers. Many people who are pro-life pray constantly that the killing stop. The doctors are being influenced by these prayers in a very positive way for mothers to keep their baby & either give up for adoption or keep it. There have also been lower teen pregnancies & we always will be praying for Obama to be a compassionate President for Pro-life programs. Prayer is changing young motherís minds at the last minutes due to the power of God talking to the mothers. Why should these medical professionals be forced to go against their religious beliefs? Birth control methods such a Mirena IUD, these days are incredibly advanced especially in the US. In today’s medical technologies, there should be no need for abortion. Even in the event of rape or incest. Adoption should be the answer & the solution. As a Christian, abstinence should be best to follow if you are following God’s plan & are single. If you are a believer of other religions, most religions ask that you practice abstinence unless you are married. These rules are there for a reason; to not bring unwanted children into the world. God has a plan for all of us. Abortion that kills unwanted children in the motherís wombs is not the answer. It is Satan’s answer to stop love & life. Jesus demonstrates His love by being our High Priest by dying on the cross & no longer do we have to sacrifice like in the Old Testament. Jesus is our sacrifice once & for all. Jesus died as the Lamb of God we shouldn’t sacrifice the unborn because they are little lives. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you…my prayer is for all of you who are pro-choice to see that Jesus loves you no matter what! Jesus is there for you in your time of need! Jesus wants you all to come to Him because He Loves You.

January 23, 2009 at 6:01 pm
(2) Jeanne says:

I predict that many doctors will leave the medical profession if FOCA is passed. Will doctors be required to perform abortions in order to renew their licenses? Will medical students (nurses and doctors) be required to learn/assist in the procedure in order to graduate and be licensed? Will doctors who refuse to submit to this evil go underground? I also predict there will be much more pressure on women to abort if they are in an “unplanned” pregnancy. Furthermore, under an Obama universal “health care” system, will pregnant women be required/required to undergo testing to determine whether the baby has any defects, such as Down Syndrome, or any physical defects? Will women then be refused medical care if they refuse to abort? Will coverage for doctor-assisted suicide be mandated? And will insurance companies refuse essential treatment if they believe it is being “wasted”?

We are in very dangerous times. Make sure you have a network of people who can take care of you.

January 25, 2009 at 10:35 am
(3) jf says:

This is appalling…I am praying everyday for what you have written Jeanne. I am writing Senator Boxer & Fienstien. I live in CA. Never voted for either one. They are the authors of what you are talking about it sounds like. Don’t be discouraged we have a God who is more powerful than all this stuff going on. I am also going to write Mary Bono Mack with what you wrote she is also the Congresswoman in CA.

September 4, 2010 at 6:50 pm
(4) Beth says:

I wonder how you all would feel if it were mandated that every woman of childbearing age were told she would have to have at least two children in her life.

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