Obama to Enforce Taxpayer-Funded Embryo Research, Abortion Abroad by Executive Order

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 10, 2008 ( - Upon entry into the Oval Office in January, President-Elect Obama intends to sweep the new administration clean of President Bush’s pro-life policies by executive order. The president-elect intends to reverse trademark Bush-era policies including the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell (ESC) research, and the ban on funding for overseas family-planning programs that offer or promote abortions.

John Podesta, Obama’s administration chief, told the Associated Press that Obama will act quickly through executive order because he thinks Obama "feels like he has a real mandate for change. We need to get off the course that the Bush administration has set."

A top transition official told the Washington Post that Obama and his team are consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize the revamping of presidential policy that "they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive." 

Out of a list of about 200 Bush administration policies under scrutiny, the ban on federal funding for ESC research was the first policy mentioned in the Post article. 

In August 2001, Bush restricted government funding to research using already existing embryonic stem cell lines and prohibited any funding for the development of new embryonic stem cell lines, which would require the destruction of more living human embryos.  President Bush had expressed his absolute refusal to consider expanding research to new lines of embryos and risk "crossing a fundamental moral line by providing taxpayer funding that would sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos."

President-Elect Obama has steadily held the line in favor of embryo research as part of his radically anti-life agenda.

In Catholic Online opinion column, Deacon Keith Fournier lamented that "with the stroke of a pen human embryos would become property, capable of being ‘manufactured’ like a commodity, and available to be used as spare parts in experimentation which has produced no discernible scientific results."

The Obama administration also plans to dispense with a ban on taxpayer funding for overseas aid promoting or offering abortion, known as the Mexico City Policy.  President Reagan instituted the policy in 1984, which was repealed by President Clinton in 1993 before being reinstituted in 2001 by President Bush.

Also, under President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), health workers are trained to emphasize abstinence and marital fidelity as the most effective ways to combat the spread of AIDS - another policy the Obama administration is likely to dispense with.

Regarding such policies, Susan F. Wood, co-chairman of Obama’s advisory committee for women’s health, said, "We have been going in the wrong direction and we need to turn it around and be promoting prevention and family-planning services,’’ according to

Bloomberg reports that, while supporters of Obama’s policies call such training "naive and dangerous," the executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association in Washington, Valerie Huber, says that considering the "demonstrable success" of abstinence training in Africa, "it would be more than unfortunate if that policy was changed."

"I don’t think many dreamed that this ‘change’ would mean taking taxpayer dollars to fund abortion around the world," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition.

Mahoney called the projected policy overhaul "tragic, a betrayal of social justice and human rights."

"Pro-life and faith groups warned that if Sen. Obama were elected president, he would be the most radical pro-abortion president in American history," he continued.

"And now we are less than one week away from the elections, and he is already proposing to take taxpayer dollars - our money - to use it to promote abortions around the world." 

"This exhibit, this extreme desire to see abortion proliferated and increased around the globe - we are going to do everything in our power to stop this from happening," said Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, who warned that "this is just the first step" in Obama’s radical policies against life.

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