Obama to Reverse Abortion Policy on Friday

By Susan Jones | January 23, 2009 | 10:32 AM EST
Washington (AP) - Officials say President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Friday ending the ban on federal funds for international groups that promote or perform abortion.
The Associated Press said the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to pre-empt Obama's announcement.
The "Mexico City policy" bans U.S. taxpayer money from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion.
Critics call it the "global gag rule," because it prohibits taxpayer funding for groups that even talk about abortion as an option for unplanned pregnancies.
Obama avoided signing the executive order on Thursday, when thousands of pro-life activists came to Washington to mark the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand.
The ruling has led to the loss of an estimated 50 million lives, said the conservative Family Research Council.
“Regardless of whether the order takes effect today or tomorrow, granting the unborn a 24-hour reprieve is not enough,” said FRC President Tony Perkins.
"We have a responsibility to respect the policies and traditions of the many other countries that have laws recognizing the right to life of the unborn, and it is an insult to fund organizations that are intent on overturning those laws by promoting an elite ideology of abortion on demand," Perkins added.
Pro-life activists also are keeping a wary eye on the Democrat-led Congress.
On Friday, the Family Research Council was delivering a petition with 45,000 signatures to Rep. David Obey's (D-Wis.) offices in Washington and Wisconsin, urging Obey to use his position as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee to ensure that taxpayers are not forced to pay for abortion on demand.
The FRC said the Appropriations Committee plays a key role in deciding the fate of 20 laws that ensure that U.S. taxpayers are not forced to pay for and promote abortion on demand.
"Congress has enacted these rules consistently for the past three decades," said Perkins. "Congressman Obey is known for his work on education and ethics reform. To repeal these laws would tarnish his legacy and turn him into a veritable abortion czar."
The rules include the Hyde Amendment (barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortions), conscience protections, and “numerous other reasonable policies that the American people widely support.”
The FRC is urging Rep. Obey to “keep Congress -- and us taxpayers -- out of the abortion business."

(The Associated Press contributed some of the information used in this report.)
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