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Politics and Media Headlines 1/23/09

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President Obama to Overturn Ban on Funding International Family Planning Groups that Provide Abortion (by Jake Tapper at Political Punch, ABC News)
ABC News has learned that later today President Obama will sign an executive order overturning the "Mexico City Policy," which prohibits Non Governmental Organizations that receive international family planning assistance through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from providing or actively promoting abortions as a method of family planning in other countries. The policy -- called the "Global Gag rule" by supporters of abortion rights -- was first instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, was overturned by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and was re-instituted by President George W. Bush in 2001.

Past presidents have instituted or revoked the ban on January 22, the anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision, but President Obama held off on that move, thinking it too combative.

Anti-abortion marchers hope Obama's listening (Los Angeles Times)
On the same grounds where many gathered just two days earlier to witness President Obama's inauguration, thousands of people joined the annual March for Life on the National Mall to protest the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and to voice their opposition to the new president's policies on abortion… Obama, as one of his first acts as president, is expected to repeal the "global gag rule" that prevents federal money from going to international groups that counsel women on abortion and perform the procedure.

Obama bides time on abortion measure (Politico)
It might have been the perfect symbolism for Barack Obama – abolishing a key anti-abortion provision on the very anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision Thursday. Yet Thursday came and went without Obama changing the rule, the way two presidents before him did on that day. Obama even issued a statement marking the 36th anniversary of Roe – but no rule change. Instead, he’s planning to do it Friday – and aides suggest he’s choosing a different kind of symbolism, to show that he’s not always going to do the usual Washington thing, even though his staunch supporters in the abortion rights community were pressing him to do it quickly.

It might seem like a small thing – the difference of a day – but it’s a sign of how Obama at times seems to almost delight in keeping supporters just a bit off-balance. It’s also a way to send an subtle message to moderate and conservative voters that he isn’t going to wear his support for abortion rights on his sleeve.

NAACP's Payton Says Now Is Time To Bolster Equal Rights Amendment (American Constitution Society)
John Payton, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, in an interview with ACS, says the federal cases that “anchor” our understanding of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment should be relegated to a “little pigeonhole in the past.” Following a recent panel discussion, co-hosted by ACS, regarding the evolution of the Civil War or Reconstruction Amendments, Payton talked with ACS about the hope for reviving the 14th Amendment’s protection of equal rights for all Americans.
Click through to watch the video. Thanks Mr. Payton, for pointing out the monumental discrepancy in our Constitution. After the vicious treatment women received last year, I’m glad someone is thinking about reform.—Caro

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Carolyn Kay

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