Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Religious Left to Obama: Don’t Repeal Abortion Gag Rule Just Yet

posted by swaldman

Pro-life Obama activists fully expect Obama to repeal the Mexico City “gag rule” — which prevents American dollars from going to groups that offer abortion services or advice. But some of them are urging the Obama administration Obama to delay action on that until he can put it in the context of a broader “abortion reduction” agenda. In other words, don’t make a big pro-choice move without also taking some abortion-reduction step.
Obama had previously indicated that overturning the gag rule would be one of his first steps, one that can be achieved through executive order.
More details as I get ‘em.



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Tom

posted January 22, 2009 at 6:46 pm


Let’s just annex Mexico and get it over with already!



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N.M.

posted January 22, 2009 at 7:16 pm


You have got to be kidding me. Another group of guys is going to invent an “abortion reduction” strategy that we must magically enact before they will give us their blessing to move forward – next you’re going to tell me that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.
This is the bottom line. We already have an abortion reduction strategy. Its called Planned Parenthood. They have been going strong for more than 80 years, providing women and men with information, counseling and services to manage their fertility according to their own beliefs (including the dictates of their faith, if that is their choice). They work in this country and many others around the world.
This so-called “religious left” needs to either get on board, or go home. They can either support the best abortion reduction strategy there is, or they can continue to profit by promoting themselves as the guys who have all the answers and will make everyone happy (even though they don’t, and can’t).
Its not hard, guys. Its two words. Planned. Parenthood. You are not going to improve on that. Get on board, or go home.
This is why these debates never end – because some people refuse to learn. That includes you, Steve. (Unless you are going to explain how you think repealing the gag rule on family planning is not in fact promoting family planning. I’d like to see you try that).



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Frances Kissling

posted January 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm


Probably the biggest problem with “pro-life” Obama supporters who are religious is their lack of commitment to women – and this goes for both the men and the few women who are part of this group. To refuse to allow health organizations in Africa access to US family planning money if they use their own funds to advocate for legal abortion, refer women for legal abortions or where abortions are legal to perform them is to condemn women to botched abortions that end their fertility, to die or become damaged in child birth or to die from illegal abortions – or to go to jail.
Three days ago, I sat in La Paz Bolivia with two dozen doctors who anguished over the USAID restrictions on any mention of abortion to women who see them at the IPPF affiliated clinics in that country. Every day women come to them and ask for help in finding a safe abortion and they have noc hoice but to say ” I can’t help you” Some of those women find their way back to the clinic after self inducing when they are now bleeding and miscarrying. Only then can the clinic help them and fix the mess. About 400 women a year in Bolivia die in botched abortions.
TO ask these women to wait another day for Obama to reverse this policy in order to satisfy the fake “common ground” prolife religious progressives suggest – prevention without contraception – is disrespectful of women’s lives, let alone their moral autonomy. The pro-life progressive religious left is dangerous to the much needed reform of the patriarchal aspects of religion. The only women they care about are women they can see as victims. And women who want to be recognized as moral adults are as suspect for them as they are for the James Dobson and Focus on the Family.
Obama needs to reverse the Global Gag Rule today.



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Carl

posted January 24, 2009 at 2:48 am


Planned Parenthood does not have an abortion reduction strategy. They are the number 1 abortion provider in the United States and had a $500 million profit last year. The abortion business is a big financial winner for them so they have every incentive to keep it legal and increase the abortion numbers so they can increase their profit margin.
If the are truly concerned about prevention and access to contraception and reducing the abortion rate, they should use their profits to provide free contraception to anyone who needs it. Instead, they are going to Congress and asking for bail out money. Do you really think they need it?
More money should be spent on helping pregnant women carry their pregnancies to term by having affordable health care, fully funding WIC, increasing the minimum wage and passing the Pregnant Women Support Act which was introduced by Senator Bob Casey and Congressman Lincoln Davis.



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Kirsten

posted January 24, 2009 at 11:08 am


I take offense at your suggestion that the pro-God, pro-life, pro-Obama crew are the “religious left.” Maybe they’re the evangelical left, or the Catholic left, but hardly the religious left. The Episcopal Church (hardly the “left” itself!) has long had a position in support of family planning, as well as a compassionate stand on abortion. The United Methodist Church passed a resolution in 2001 opposing the Global Gag Rule. The Unitarians have developed a sex education curriculum for faith groups that can both honor God’s gift of sexuality while still delivering medically accurate health information.
While the Southern Baptist Convention could focus on no other issues besides restricting abortion and undermining the human rights of gay people, the Presbyterian Church was placing medical missionaries to improve health care in poor villages throughout the world.
It is a frustrating misconception that people of faith don’t support comprehensive reproductive health care. If the pro-life, pro-Obama crowd truly values women’s lives, then they will surely want to ensure that U.S. aid supports organizations that can provide the best health care for women, period.



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