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Sources: Obama may quickly reverse abortion policy

  • Story Highlights
  • President-elect Obama may act quickly to reverse controversial abortion policy
  • Incoming president may issue executive order to reverse policy
  • Policy bans U.S. funding of international groups that promote abortion
  • Reagan initiated "Mexico City policy"; Clinton reversed it; Bush reinstated it
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By Suzanne Malveaux
CNN White House Correspondent
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama is considering issuing an executive order to reverse a controversial Bush administration abortion policy in his first week in office, three Democratic sources said Monday.

Obama's second full day as president falls on the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States.

The sources said Obama may use the occasion to reverse the "Mexico City policy" reinstated in 2001 by Bush that prohibits U.S. money from funding international family planning groups that promote abortion or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion services. It bans any organization receiving family planning funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development from offering abortions or abortion counseling.

The "Mexico City policy," commonly referred to by critics as "the global gag rule," was devised by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 at a population conference in Mexico City.

President Bill Clinton lifted the ban in January 1993 as one of his first acts as president, but President George W. Bush reinstated it in his first executive order on January 22, 2001, the 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

At the time, critics -- including Planned Parenthood -- called the move a "legislative ambush."

Bush defended the action, saying then: "It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortion or actively promote abortion."

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