Wednesday, November 19, 2008

President-Elect Obama and the Global Gag Rule

According to the Washington post, President-Elect Obama is expected to lift the "global gag rule."  From the story, here is a brief run-down of the policy:

The new president is also expected to lift a so-called global gag rule barring international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion, even in countries where the procedure is legal, said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he rescinded the Reagan-era regulation, known as the Mexico City policy, but Bush reimposed it.

Cara at Feministe stated:

The Global Gag Rule literally kills thousands and thousands of women every year by putting already over-stretched clinics in an impossible position. . . .  Repealing the Global Gag Rule is only a start, but it’s a huge first step towards a real culture of life — one that respects and cares for the lives of women. 

While the president-elect will likely face some opposition to this decision, there are important reasons to consider a repeal of the decision, even if one opposes abortion.  Jill, also of Feministe, reports:

The highest abortion rates occur in countries where birth control access is highly limited; worldwide, socioeconomic reasons are a leading factor in women choosing abortion. Low rates of abortion strongly correlate with universal health care, widely available contraception, and gender egalitarianism. There is little correlation between the legal status of abortion and the incidence of abortion — that is, there’s no evidence that countries where abortion is illegal have lower abortion rates than countries where it is legal.

While this issue likely focuses more on First Amendment issues rather than the actual substantive due process surrounding the right to privacy or to terminate a preganancy, this posting is shared with the hope that it might enrich and further your class discussion of those issues.


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