Obama lifts ban on aid for international abortion

By February 2, 2009

USA (MNN) — President Obama has lifted a ban that kept public family-planning funds from international organizations that support abortion. The ban was created in 1984 by Ronald Reagan, removed by Bill Clinton in 1993, instated again by George W. Bush in 2001, and has now been lifted once more by Barak Obama.

There have been several nods of agreement from pro-choice activists, as well as heavy sighs and protests from pro-life supporters. One voice that has yet to be heard is that of an international organization seeing the effects first hand.

Every Child Ministries has been working in various African countries for 28 years, holding to this standard: "We work for life at every level, because we see the value God places on human life." ECM works a great deal with poor and suffering orphans and families but also as advocates for the lives of the unborn. Naturally, the ministry has had a reaction to Obama's international ban lift.

"We have been personally and intimately connected with the needs of the poor, specifically in Africa, for 28 years," says ECM's Lorella Rouster. "According to all of our observations, funding for abortion is the very last thing that developing nations need."

Rouster says most African nations do not have legalized abortion and discourage it. If nothing else, aid to organizations supporting abortion challenges the laws laid down by these countries' governments. Regardless, many organizations that work in Africa and will be receiving the new funding may provide tempting options for vulnerable women.

"In our work, we have seen parents, under the duress of extreme poverty, make decisions many times that were hurtful for their children." Rouster says these decisions include selling children into slavery, prostitution, trafficking and child labor. She notes that although these situations are terribly harmful, on occasion she has seen relationships restored after these mistakes.

"As hard as those situations are, every one of them is reversible. But when a mother makes a choice to terminate the life of her child through abortion, there's no turning back. It cannot be undone. That's why, I think, the guilt and the pain are so enduring for those mothers."

ECM provides hope for mothers and children by spreading the truth of Jesus Christ, as well as providing physically for them. But as many of the women begin to understand the forgiveness of the Lord for all of their sins, they still have troubling reconciling within themselves the guilt of a decision to abort. Rouster says most organizations that offer abortions internationally treat it as a procedure, typically failing to mention even the possibility of the termination of a life, or the emotional factors that will undoubtedly ensue following an abortion.

On a purely systematic level, in the president's decision to remove this ban Rouster notes that Obama should have at least consulted his country. "There's the whole question of 'should use public money to do this?' Our president didn't ask our permission; he didn't even go to our elected representatives; yet he took our tax dollars to do this. That is something that is very difficult for Christians to live with."

Rouster wants you to pray that our president would have a change of heart about this decision. She urges you to consider sending an e-mail to President Obama about your concerns at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/.

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