Obama Reviews Abortion Rules

Bush's abstinence initiatives, Reagan's 'gag rule' could go way of dodo.
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2008 8:07 AM CST
Abortion protesters KC Williams, right, and daughter Emily Williams carry posters attacking Barack Obama outside the site of the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 22, 2008.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Barack Obama’s transition team is hard at work deciding how and when to undo the Bush administration’s abortion policies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bush’s ban on federal stem cell research funding will be among the first to go—a move that has broad bipartisan support—along with Reagan’s “global gag rule,” which prevents US aid recipients from providing or advocating abortions, even with their own funds.

Also in the crosshairs is the “right of conscience” regulation being finalized by the Bush administration this week, which protects the jobs of medical professionals who opt out of procedures they find objectionable. Funding for abstinence-only education may be replaced with that for sex education that includes birth control. “We have a lot of work to do to fix the damage the Bush administration has done,” says one pro-choice advocate. But Obama, who's signaled that he's looking for a middle ground on the divisive issue, may not make abortion moves on day one, as Presidents Bush and Clinton did.