From Women's eNews, 12/06/08
President-elect Barack Obama pledged to restore United States' international standing, including a promise to push for ratification of the long-ignored United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the women's equal rights treaty known as CEDAW, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Nov. 30.
Although 185 countries have ratified the 1979 treaty, the United States remains one of only eight that have not, alongside Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga. The U.S. Senate must ratify the treaty and it could be difficult to persuade because the treaty says women should have access to "information, counseling and services in family planning," which anti-choice groups have interpreted as a guaranteed right to abortion.
From The Guardian: 01/23/09
Obama Reverses "Global Gag Rule"
President Barack Obama today made the most contentious move of his young administration with an order, overturning a ban on federal funds to foreign family planning organisations that either offer abortions or provide information or counselling about abortion.
It will allow US aid, usually through the US agency for international development, to flow to HIV/Aids clinics, birth-control providers and other organisations that advocate or provide counselling about abortion across the world. It is known as the "global gag rule" because it denies US taxpayer dollars to clinics that even mention abortion to women with unplanned pregnancies. Read more.
For more on Obama's policies on women, see his agenda for women.