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Berman Calls Obama's Mexico City Policy Reversal an Important Step in Women's Rights, Health Care
Date:1/23/2009

VAN NUYS, Calif., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said today President Obama's executive order repealing the Mexico City Policy is an important step in protecting women's rights and in improving health care worldwide.

"The President's action rights a wrong-headed policy that for eight years has hindered people in developing countries from having access to the contraceptives necessary to prevent unintended pregnancies, abortions, and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS," Berman said.

Known popularly as the Global Gag Rule, the Mexico City Policy prohibited federal funding for non-governmental organizations that discuss, counsel on, or provide abortions in developing countries. Berman observed that "this policy - which would violate the constitutional right to freedom of speech if placed on U.S.-based non-governmental organizations - applied even if abortion-related services were funded only with non-U.S. funds, and even if abortion was legal in the country in which services were provided."

"Repeal of these restrictions was long overdue," Berman noted, "and the action President Obama has taken is a clear signal that he intends to change how America works with the international community in solving global problems."


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SOURCE House Committee on Foreign Affairs
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