The antiabortion movement is mobilizing its forces to challenge President-elect Barack Obama should he move quickly to restore federal funding of international family planning services and make good his promise to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA.
Led by Americans United for Life and other antiabortion groups, the movement is gathering signatures to fight FOCA and meeting this weekend to map out a strategy.
While it is unclear if Obama will move swiftly on the abortion issue, activists on both sides expect him to reverse a Bush executive order implementing the so-called Mexico City language that bars nongovernmental family planning organizations from using federal money to perform abortion services in other countries or to inform patients there about such procedures.
The activists expect that move to propel action in Congress on FOCA, which sets in law a woman's right to choose and challenges recent Supreme Court rulings on the issue.
According to foes, the new strategy to fight both will seek to capitalize on taxpayer anger at the recent Wall Street bailout. "Our strategy will be, 'Do we want to use federal tax dollars to bail out the abortion industry?' " says one of the activists working to build a coalition to fight Obama. "Why are we using taxpayer money to fund abortion services overseas?" he said. (However, federal funding has not been used in the past to directly fund abortions overseas.)
While it's an issue that was largely avoided in the presidential campaign, conservatives see it as a key test of which way Obama will move on social issues in his first year.
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