Friday, January 16, 2009

First Days in Office with President Barack Obama

During his first day in office, the President of the United States can revoke a variety of policies which his predecessor enacted. The most-commonly known policy which has been enacted by prolife presidents and revoked by pro-abortion presidents is the Mexico City Policy. In addition, some have speculated that the human embryonic stem cell funding policy put in place by President George W. Bush will also be revoked. Below is background information on both policies.

What is the Mexico City Policy?
The Mexico City Policy is an official policy of the U.S. government which prevents organizations who receive federal tax dollars from performing or promoting abortions in other countries. The policy doesn’t lower the amount of federal funding given to overseas family planning, it merely ensures that organizations who provide and promote abortion internationally don’t receive any of that funding.

What’s the history of the Mexico City Policy?
The Mexico City Policy was originally put in place by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. When elected in 1988, President George H.W. Bush kept the policy in place. President Bill Clinton quickly revoked the policy the first full day after his inauguration and organizations which performed abortions overseas were eligible for federal funding from 1993 until the Mexico City Policy was reinstated by President George W. Bush on January 22, 2001.

What’s Barack Obama’s position on the Mexico City Policy?
Pro-abortion groups expect Barack Obama to revoke the Mexico City Policy during his first few days in office and allow tax dollars to go to organizations which provide and promote abortion internationally. In a November 9, 2008, Washington Post article, Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, is quoted as saying, "We have been communicating with his transition staff" almost daily. Richards also said, "We expect to see a real change."

On November 10, 2008, Bloomberg published a story in which Susan Wood, co-chairman of Obama's advisory committee for women's health, says Obama is planning to “reverse U.S. family-planning and AIDS-prevention strategies that have long linked global funding to anti-abortion” policies.

Embryonic Stem Cell Funding
Another policy which Barack Obama may overturn during his first days in office is George W. Bush’s current embryonic stem cell funding policy. In August of 2001, President Bush decided that federal tax dollars could be used to support research on human embryonic stem cells as long as the embryonic stem cells were removed from human embryos (a process which kills the embryos) before August 2001. This policy has received much criticism over the years from proponents of embryonic stem cell research. There have also been various legislative attempts to overturn his policies which have been vetoed by President Bush.

It is expected that Barack Obama will announce a new policy soon after he becomes president. It is likely the new policy will allow funding on all human embryonic stem cell lines which were derived from human embryos originally created by in-vitro fertilization for couples with fertility problems. The Dickey Amendment still currently prevents federal tax dollars from going towards research in which human embryos are directly killed.

Time with tell what the future holds for commonsense policies which protect human life and keep our tax dollars from paying for abortion or the destruction of the most innocent human beings, human embryos. Right to Life of Michigan will be following these issues closely.