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Obama Lifts
Global Gag Rule

Obama Lifts
Global Gag Rule

President Barack Obama signed an executive order rescinding a ban on funding for certain family planning groups in foreign countries on the third day of his presidency.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order rescinding a ban on funding for certain family planning groups in foreign countries on the third day of his presidency. Services from these organizations include comprehensive sexual education, access to contraceptives, and information about abortions.

The Mexico City Policy, also known as the global gag rule, denied U.S. funding to international family planning organizations that provided abortion services or even counseled clients about the procedure, even if the U.S. funds were used for other services. It was initially put into force by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and was rescinded by President Bill Clinton 1993. President George W. Bush reinstated the policy in 2001 when he first took office.

Dana Hovig of Marie Stopes International, a London-based group that provides family planning services in more than 40 countries, told TheWashington Post that the executive order would provide an opportunity to illustrate the benefits of comprehensive sexual health services. "We know from available evidence that voluntary access to contraception is the best way to reduce the number of abortions in the developing world," Hovig said. Lifting of the policy does not allow U.S. money to be used for abortions, but it can go to the groups to support other services they provide. (Michelle Garcia, Advocate.com)

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