Washington D.C., Dec 20, 2008 / 08:04 am America/Denver (CNA).
Abortion advocates have handed over a "long list" of policies they want to see implemented under the administration of President-elect Barack Obama. Their "smart and strategic" list includes the restoration of funding to the United Nations Population Fund and the reduction in the price of birth control pills at college health centers.
"We're going to be smart and strategic about our policy agenda to bring people together to make progress for women's health," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the Wall Street Journal. "The Freedom of Choice Act is very important... but we have a long list of things to get done that I think can address problems immediately that women are facing, that are really immediate concerns."
FOCA was not listed in strategic plan submitted to the Obama transition team by a coalition of more than 50 abortion rights advocates.
The Obama administration could also decide whether to cut funding for abstinence education, whether to increase funding for "comprehensive sex education" that includes discussion of birth control, whether to rescind a ban on taxpayer funding for abortions, and whether to overturn regulations that make unborn children eligible for healthcare coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Activists also want to lower the cost of birth control at college health clinics.
Obama is expected to restore federal funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) soon after taking office, the Wall Street Journal reports. Investigations by the Population Research Institute and the U.S. Department of State under Secretary of State Colin Powell have linked the UNFPA to China’s coercive population control policy.
Pro-abortion rights groups are also opposed to new conscience protection regulations announced on Thursday by the Bush Administration. While federal law requires that doctors and nurses not be compelled to perform abortions, the new rules promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) clarify that all health-care workers may refuse to provide information, such as a referral, to patients looking for an abortion.
Many activists on both sides of the conscience protection issue interpret the rule as protecting workers who refuse to participate in providing birth control or other care to which they have conscientious objections.
The new rule could be blocked by Congress. The HHS under an Obama administration could also reverse the regulation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, officials close to President-elect Obama’s transition team indicate that they intend to implement change through the HHS regulatory process.