Portrait of a woman, Fibers Exhibition, Savannah College of Art & Design, June 2008.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama issued a statement reaffirming women's rights and reproductive freedom:
"On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.
"While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.
"On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere."
Key Bush policies reversed
President Obama also signed an executive order lifting a ban on U.S. funding for international family planning groups that provide heatlh care, contraceptive services, HIV prevention and perform abortions and provide counseling about the procedure.
The order rescinds the Mexico City Policy, also known as the "gag rule," originally instituted by Ronald Reagan in 1984. The "gag rule" was rescinded by Bill Clinton and revived by George W. Bush.
"For eight long years the global gag rule has been used by the Bush administration to play politics with the lives of poor women across the world," said Gill Greer of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in London. "In rescinding this disastrous and unjust policy, President Obama has returned the United States to the international consensus on women's health."
President Obama also reversed key Bush "war on terror" policies. The president signed orders ending torture; closing the CIA's black sites and closing Guantanamo Bay. Not bad for a day's work, eh?