Roundup: Inaugurating Change with President Obama 2009

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Roundup: Inaugurating Change with President Obama 2009

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Family planning change is on the agenda right away for President Obama, an anti-choice "inauguration" ad uses Obama's life as a script and birthing healthcare reform.

Ladies and Gentleman…the President Barack H. Obama.

It’s President Obama’s first day and he’s holding a tremendous agenda in his hands. Progressives have been working for that oft-used word "change" for a long time and now that there’s an ally in the White House, there’s a feeling of almost limitless possibility. 

Rewire, of course, has outlined much of what the progressive reproductive and sexual health and rights advocacy community is calling for. But there is always more. Yes we can.

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The National Sexuality Resource Center starts things off with a bang (no pun intended). Their email this morning starts off,

"Today marks the start of a new era heralding hope and change, and at the NSRC, we’re hoping for new conversations on the place of healthy sexuality in sexual education and HIV work; invigorated leadership from faith-based practitioners; and a dampening on moral sex panics…"

Their online publication, American Sexuality, features some fascinating conversations including one on Michelle Obama and the perception that successful black men only marry white women, and the role of social groups in the formulation of young people’s sexuality and, finally, the many names for ones’ back/derriere/booty…

A New Birth of Freedom

The Big Push for Midwives are also ready for a birth of a new day. They are calling on all reproductive health advocates to send an email to the new President by midnight tonight, so that he receives at least 5,000 emails, calling on him to include Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in federal heathcare reform. 

We know that healthcare reform has been a critical component of this administrations’ change mantra and now it must be morphed into hard public policy. But for women, families and newborns to prosper we also must advocate for all Americans to have access to the best care they are able to receive before, during and immediately following childbirth. To that end, this campaign is pushing to ensure that CPMs  are covered in federal heatlhcare reform. 

Obama’s Reversing International Family Planning and Abortion Policy?

President Obama’s first order of business is foreign policy, says The Washington Post today . According to aides, Obama wil immediately dive into foreign-policy issues and of course one of those orders of business is related to international family planning and abortion. It seems likely that President Obama will immediately reverse the Global Gag Rule first put in place by President Ronald Reagan freeing up reproductive health clinics in developing nations that receive U.S. funds, to make their own decisions about whether or not to discuss, advocate for or debate abortion access within their walls. The Seattle Times article, Obama wil act fast to repeal Bush rules, lays it out:

In one of his first acts as president, Barack Obama plans to lift a rule that prevents federal money from going to international family-planning groups that counsel women on abortion or perform the procedure.

Obama’s repeal of the policy is one of several executive actions he will take soon after his inauguration Tuesday, according to several transition aides. He is also considering lifting Bush administration restrictions on federally funded stem-cell research.

Except for the 8 years in which Bill Clinton was President, health clinics abroad have been bound by this rule  – a rule that is entirely unconsitutional if applied within our own borders. 

Anti-Choice Inauguration Day Ad

Anti-choice, extreme religious organizations have wasted no time in pushing what has become an unpopular message. Using Obama’s own background as a script, Catholicvote.org’s "Imagine" television and online "inauguration" ad starts off with these words flashing across the screen as we see a fetus-in-utero:

This child’s future is a broken home

He will be abandoned by his father

His single mother will struggle to raise him

and goes on that way as we struggle to figure out just how this kind of a message can honestly counteract President Obama’s message of unity and common ground. As Dan Gilgoff on US News & World Report’s God and Faith blog writes, 

These groups are obviously looking to counter Obama’s pioneering outreach to religious voters and opponents of abortion rights, beginning on his very first day as president.

But pioneering outreach is not the only thing Obama has accomplished – he’s also managed to pioneer unity. Once people are unified on an issue it’s really difficult to part them – and an old, extremist message doesn’t seem to be cutting it any longer.