Obama Lifts Abortion 'Gag Rule'

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2009 4:57 PM CST
Abortion opponents march past the Capitol in Washington during the annual March for Life.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama today overturned the “gag rule” prohibiting the US from funding groups that provide abortions or abortion counseling overseas, Reuters reports. The policy has been enforced and rescinded depending on the Oval Office occupant since it was instituted under President Reagan. Unlike yesterday's high-profile signing ceremony, today's executive order was signed without the media present.

The policy prohibits groups receiving US funding from even discussing abortion. Obama’s decision opens up $400 million for family planning overseas to previously excluded groups, angering opponents. “It is an insult to the American people to bail out the abortion industry,” said one. Groups that back the president's decision say the ban resulted in illegal abortions and deaths.