(CNSNews.com) – The “change” that President-elect Barack Obama promised on the campaign trail will likely include overturning President George W. Bush’s 2001 executive order to prohibit the use of federal tax dollars for performing or advocating abortion as a means of family planning in foreign countries, Obama’s transition team has said.
“There’s a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we’ll see the president do that,” John Podesta, head of Obama’s transition team, said when he appeared on “Fox News Sunday.”
One of those executive orders is the Mexico City Policy, or as critics call it, the “global gag act,” a U.S. policy first put into place at an August 1984 Conference on Population in Mexico City by President Ronald Reagan.
The Reagan policy required all non-governmental agencies, or NGOs, that received population aid dollars from the United States to agree to not perform or actively promote abortions.
In what has become a partisan tradition in the first days of both Republican or Democratic administrations, President Bill Clinton removed the order shortly after taking office in 1993, and Bush reinstated it on Jan. 22, 2001.
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, told CNSNews.com that Obama has backed the pro-abortion agenda throughout his political career.
“And when he’s in the oval office he will nullify (the Mexico City Policy), and the result will be hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars going to organizations in developing countries that promote abortion,” Johnson said.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has publicly criticized the policy, saying it limits abortion counseling even in countries where the procedure is legal.
In the 1980s, International Planned Parenthood-London, and Family Planning International Assistance tried but failed through court challenges to reverse the policy.
As a U.S. senator, Obama has backed proposed legislation to reverse the Mexico City Policy. After he is inaugurated on Jan. 20, his advisers are predicting the swift reversal of this and many other Bush executive orders, including the ban on medical research that creates and then destroys human embryos to harvest stem cells.