- (Photo: AP Images / Charles Dharapak)
Among the several major actions President Obama has taken in the early days of his office, his decision to reverse the prohibition on funding for overseas abortion providers was the least popular, the latest Gallup Poll shows.
Only 35 percent of Americans approved of Obama's repeal of the Mexico City Policy, while 58 percent disapproved, according to a Gallup poll released Monday. The second least popular action was the order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison with only 44 percent expressing approval.
The USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 1, asked 1,027 Americans to say whether they approve or disapprove of seven specific actions Obama has taken as president.
Out of the seven policies included in the poll - from naming special envoys for the Middle East to limiting interrogation techniques on prisoners - Obama's decision to repeal the pro-life rule garnered the highest disapproval rating.
The Mexico City Policy, which declared that American tax dollars would not fund international organizations involved in performing or promoting abortions abroad, was established by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. The policy was repealed by Bill Clinton when he took office in 1993 but it was then re-instituted by George W. Bush in 2001. Obama has once again lifted it.
When compared across political lines, the president's repeal of the pro-life rule still received the lowest approval rating.
Democrats were more likely than Independents to approve of the decision, 59 to 33 percent. Meanwhile, only 8 percent of Republicans approved.
Obama reversed the abortion funding ban through an executive order signed on his first Friday in office.
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman has criticized Obama for releasing the funding late on Friday, which he believes is a tactic to minimize media coverage.
"This proves that Obama's radical support of unrestricted abortion is an extremist position that is out of touch with the American people. He knows it, too, or he would not try to sneak these policies under the radar," said Newman, an outspoken pro-life activist.
"This week's Gallup poll revealed the truth that President Obama's decision to roll back the commonsense Mexico City Policy is out of step with the attitudes of the majority of American taxpayers," agreed Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, a group that seeks the advancement of pro-life women in politics.
Obama's strong support for other abortion policies have also alarmed pro-life groups.
He has indicated that one of the first actions he would take as president is to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), a measure that would codify Roe v. Wade and prohibit any state from denying a woman the right to an abortion.
Pro-life groups fear that FOCA, if enacted, would override existing pro-life state laws, including parental notification laws and laws restricting abortion. The measure was a topic of protest at massive pro-life rallies commemorating Roe v. Wade last month in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.
Newman added that Obama is well on his way to being known in history as the "Abortion President."
The Susan B. Anthony List has campaigned to the 41 votes necessary to sustain a filibuster against measures promoting federal taxpayer funding of abortion. The organization has already sent over 72,000 letters to the U.S. Senate urging the preservation of federal abortion funding restrictions.
"I strongly urge President Obama to abandon the radical abortion bailout agenda. Americans want him to endorse policies that actually reduce abortion, not promote it at the taxpayer's expense," said Dannenfelser.
The provision in the stimulus plan to expand state access to family-planning services under Medicaid was dropped after House Republicans denounced it, arguing that it wouldn't stimulate the economy and would instead go toward funding "the abortion industry" and the distribution of contraceptives.