Feministe has a good post up listing some of Obama’s executive orders since he’s started working. He clearly came out of the gate running; one of the most interesting is that he has frozen all pending policies and legislation passed by the Bush Administration, subject to review. Among the affected policies? Our old favorite, the HHS “conscience clause” rule! According to California NOW,
While the regulatory process had been completed and the final regulations reported in the Federal Registry, HHS had not yet developed guidelines for implementation. [A contact at HHS confirms] the Department believes the regs. fall under President Obama’s executive order “freezing all last minute Bush administration regulations for review prior to final implementation”.
Woohoo! In other reproductive health news, yesterday was the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. To commemorate the occasion, Obama made a public statement affirming his commitment to the pro-choice position, which includes (as it should) making prevention a priority, with more access to healthcare, sex education, contraception, and the like (via). One thing he did not do? Repeal the Global Gag Rule (which I have apparently never mentioned before – wtf?). Anyways, it’s a rule that says any organization that provides any sort of health care to women internationally gets cut off from all federal funding if they even mention abortion, let alone counsel on it or (heaven forbid!) offer it. I really don’t have the energy to comment on how ridonculous that is, so just go here for why I think that rule is much more abhorrent than the anti-choice measures taken in this country (and that’s saying something) (via). Historically, the GGR has either been passed/reinstated (Reagan & Bush II) or rescinded (Clinton) on Roe’s anniversary, both because of the date and because it’s two days after the inauguration, so it allows the new president to take a bold stance on either treating women as human beings or pandering to social conservatives. However, Obama, despite assuring people that he would/will rescind said rule post-haste, neglected to do so yesterday because it was an emotionally charged day. WTF? The fact that the move has pro-life wingnuts applauding his “respectfulness” gives me a kneejerk reaction of revulsion, but whatevs (via). Just get rid of it, okay? Yahoo says he will today, but I’m not holding my breath.
The Lilly Ledbetter Pay Act, which I discussed here, passed the Senate yesterday – 61-36. All 16 female senators voted for it, including the 4 Republican ones (think about those percentages of female lawmakers, btw). Awesomecakes! Unfortunately, this, the gag rule, the possible passage of the Freedom of Choice Act – all of these are just cleaning up messes from the previous administration. It’s a shame that “progress’ involves, to a large extent, just putting things back the way they used to be, instead of actively making improvements that we’ve never had. I’m not blaming Obama for this – he has to start somewhere, of course, and these are very important. But it just underscores what a long way there is to go – I foresee that a large part of his (first?) term will be spent hitting the “reset” button.
Because I’m a lazy bum who spent yesterday traipsing around outside my house and then taking an hours-long bath, I neglected to join NARAL’s Blog For Choice effort. Bloggers were invited to promote the importance of reproductive rights, and answer this question in particular: What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress? Go here for a list of the blogs that participated – there’s hundreds of them. Woot!
A little off-topic, but here are two must-reads:
- An Oral History of the Bush White House: All sorts of infurating and illuminating quotes from those who were in the know about the administration’s tenure. Seriously. It’s long, so I read it in parts, but it was worth it.
- Prop 8 Hurt My Family – Ask Me How: With all the attention being given to how pro-Prop 8 people are being “discriminated against” by having their donations made public, it’s important to put the attention back where it belongs – on the actual victims. The report isn’t just about what you’d expect – you know, the fact that thousands of marriages are now at risk of being dissolved and many more may never come to be – but talks about the discrimination that LGBT people and their allies have faced, completely irrespective of marriage rights, as a result of the prop 8 campaigning and controversy.