Vatican condemns Obama ruling on abortion funding

 A senior Vatican official has strongly criticised US President Barack Obama for overturning a ban on state funding for family-planning groups that carry out or facilitate abortions overseas.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Vatican, told Italian daily Corriere della Sera, that President Obama's signing of the executive order, was: "the arrogance of someone who believes they are right, in signing a decree which will open the door to abortion and thus to the destruction of human life."

He said: "What is important is to know how to listen... without locking oneself into ideological visions with the arrogance of a person who, having the power, thinks they can decide on life and death."

President Obama signed the executive order on January 23, cancelling the eight-year-old restrictions on the third full day of his presidency. This will allow the US to fund the UN Family Planning agency. Termed a "global gag rule" by the Guttmacher Institute and other abortion advocates, the outgoing Bush Administration had cut off with its so-called Mexico City policy any US funding to overseas organizations which provide any abortion services whatsoever, from the operation itself to counseling, referrals or post-abortion services.

"If this is one of the first acts of President Obama, with all due respect, it seems to me that the path towards disappointment will have been very short," the Archbishop said.

"I do not believe that those who voted for him took into consideration ethical themes, which were astutely left aside during the election debate. The majority of the American population does not take the same position as the president and his team," he added.

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