Monday, November 10, 2008
This just in - Barack Obama has announced that he has compiled a list of 200 Bush Presidential Orders that he will reverse!!!
First up, will be ending the horrific Global Gag Rule which has stopped U.S. aid to going to foreign NGOs that use funding from any other source to: perform abortions in cases other than a threat to the woman’s life, rape or incest; provide counseling and referral for abortion; or lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their country.
Called the "gag" rule because it stifles free speech and public debate on abortion-related issues, the policy forces a cruel choice on foreign NGOs: accept U.S. assistance to provide essential health services – but with restrictions that may jeopardize the health of many patients – or reject the policy and lose vital U.S. funds, contraceptive supplies and technical assistance.
When I worked for a USAID contractor, JSI back in 1999- 2003, I watched as the Bush policies decimated work that we were doing to promote safe sex, get women badly needed access to family planning, and forced organizations struggling to do good work in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to make hard choices.
I almost cried when I realized that this horrific misogynistic, anti feminist Bush era is over. Goodbye to:
U.S. trying to undermine international agreement on women such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2005 where the US stood alone in trying to undermine international consensus at the United Nations. The U.S. delegation spent a full week focused on its anti-abortion amendment to the one-page reaffirmation of Beijing. In spite of vigorous lobbying on the part of the U.S. delegation, countries of the world stood firm in rejecting the U.S. language.
In March 2004, the USA was the only one of 38 country delegations to oppose a declaration to ensure greater access to reproductive health services, greater efforts at HIV/AIDS prevention, and the protection of reproductive rights for all.
In December 2002—the Bush administration had made clear its radical shift in policy by refusing to reaffirm the importance of progress on women's health and rights. The U.S. delegation dominated negotiations with an agenda that ignored the health needs of women and girls over the objections of every other country present. It incorrectly claimed the terms "reproductive health services" and "reproductive rights" "promote abortion." Adhering to a narrow and unproven "abstinence-only until marriage" policy, it also tried to remove all language citing "consistent condom use" as a viable way of preventing HIV infection. In the end, the U.S. position was defeated by a vote of 32-1.
Trying to block WHO's efforts to decrease unsafe abortion
At a time when 68,000 women die annually from the consequences of unsafe abortion and countless others are left with lifelong health problems, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stood alone in trying to block the addition of early pregnancy termination pills to the World Health Organization's (WHO) essential medicines list.
Putting anti-feminists in charge of gender equality in Iraq
On September 27, 2004, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that a portion of a $10 million grant to train and educate 150 women leaders in Iraq would be awarded to the Independent Women's Forum (IWF). Co-founded by Lynne Cheney, National Review editor and former Heritage Foundation Vice President for Government Relations Kate O'Beirne, and others, the IWF is an ultra-conservative organization with an explicitly anti-feminist track record. Although the organization is supposed to be promoting equality and democracy for Iraqi women, it has in fact opposed several key efforts to promote gender equality in the United States, including the Women's Educational Equity Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and Title IX, the landmark federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Internationally, IWF has opposed key provisions of the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), including women's right to equal pay for equal work, paid maternity leave and child care facilities for working mothers, and minimum quotas that would ensure women's representation at all levels of government.
Bye Bye Bush - women of the world, breathe a bit easier... Barack Obama has got it, baby!