Bush again bars overseas aid for promoting abortion
On yesterday's 28th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, President George Bush reinstated restrictions denying federal aid to groups that promote abortion overseas. "Taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or advocate or actively promote abortion, either here or abroad," he said in an executive order, one of his first acts as president. The Los Angeles Times compares it to one of Clinton's first acts: opening up the military to homosexuals. Bush also sent a message to prolife activists rallying in Washington. (Other rallies took place around the country.) "We share a great goal: to work toward a day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law," he said in a statement read by Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.). "We know that this will not come easily or all at once, but the goal leads us onward, to build a culture of life, affirming that every person and every stage and season of life, is created equally in God's image." And this act may be just the beginning. Next up is a re-evaluation of RU-486. But though these actions are significant to activists on both sides, The New York Times Magazine notes that not much has changed in people's minds on the issue over the last 28 years. "The political debate over abortion has remained, essentially, frozen in time," writes Robin Toner. "Science has changed, the culture has changed, public attitudes have changed, but the politics of abortion unfolds like a Kabuki play, stylized and familiar."

More on Bush and religious conservatives:
"Policy conflict promises to be fierce," John C. Green, director of the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron, writes in this morning's Christian Science Monitor. "Religious conservatives will want quick moves on abortion … gay rights, pornography, 'pro-family' policies, and the use of faith-based organizations to implement social programs. … Religious conservatives hope Bush will 'restore honor and dignity to the White House,' but this seemingly easy task could be undermined by bitter infighting." That's an easy bet—there's already a slew of activists dying to get their agendas into the Oval Office. For example, The Indianapolis Star reports that the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, fresh from being denied a Supreme Court hearing in its tiff with the IRS, is trying to get Bush to cancel its tax liability. "We will stay there until we accomplish our purpose," says the church's lawyer. "We have a one-way ticket at this point." On another front, Eugene Rivers and a dozen other black religious leaders issued an open letter to Bush urging the new president to increase funding to fight HIV and AIDS in Africa, implement a universal health care plan for children, and make Africa a priority in international policy. (The letter also chastises other black leaders for "inflam[ing] the debate over Cabinet nominees with facile charges of racism.")

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