Gag rule to be rescinded?

UPDATE: ABC News reports that President Obama signed an executive order today reversing the ban that prohibits funding to international family planning groups that provide abortions.

Read more here.

The BBC News writes “…aid agencies welcomed the move, saying it would promote women’s health, especially in developing countries.”

The new President has moved quickly to implement a number of policies that he spoke about on the campaign trail. One of the promises he made was to rescind the gag rule on offering any form of abortion counseling as part of family planning that was enacted during President Bush’s administration.

Steve Waldman is one of the looking for details and news on just how the new President is going to fulfill his promise.

While Steve is waiting for this news, he does point us to an article by a democratic party member who works in Chaplaincy ministry. She discusses some theological issues that are not commonly discussed when talking about abortion:

Have you had an experience where you felt that life was asking you to make a choice? In your heart you sensed the ‘right’ way to go, but you had to engage in a deep, personal, profoundly spiritual struggle to come to that decision? Perhaps it meant great sacrifice on your part, or going against the expectations of those you love and respect, or maybe you just really didn’t know what to do.

As a chaplain I have had the privilege of being with people facing such choices, and as a human I have faced them myself. Ask yourself, or someone else who has faced such a choice: “Do you wish the choice had been taken out of your hands?” In the midst of the struggle many of us wish we weren’t faced with such a difficult decision. But time after time I have witnessed the saving power that dwells in that struggle. On the other side of the struggle, after the choice is made and lived, people thank God for the choice. We realize that it was only through the challenge, the discernment and the desperation that we deepened our relationship with God, that we reached a little further into our own spiritual depths, that we discovered our strength.

I think our discussion on the legality of abortion needs to take into account the spiritual nature of choice. To those who say, “Some choices are so obvious God doesn’t need us to make them on an individual basis, we know how God wants everyone to act.” I say, “Then why do we have the story of Abraham and Isaac?” Why is Abraham, the one who was willing to terminate his child’s life, the spiritual father of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths?


One thing I have never heard discussed in all the debates on abortion is: what would be taken away from those who choose to bring their pregnancies to term if abortion is made illegal. I vividly remember the complex array of emotions and questions and prayers that flooded me when I conceived. Each time, my commitment to bear my children (and my husband’s commitment to parent them) was a process that unfolded. Knowing I had the choice to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, I had to dig deep. What unfolded was a glorious “hineni”. Here I am Lord! I absolutely believe that my response – born of struggle and doubt and discernment — came from so deep that its truth infused my womb. Thus my children’s first home was a place that said, “Yes to you!!” and taught them by example the wondrous fruits that come from saying, “Here I am Lord”.

So can you see what could be lost if we legislate such discernment out of existence? Without the possibility of safely, legally terminating pregnancies we help to create womb-environments that say “Well you’re here so I guess that’s the way it’s going to be, like it or not.”

Past Posts