Obama praised for nixing abortion rule

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish groups praised President Obama for reversing a Bush administration order banning U.S. assistance to overseas groups that provide abortions or information about other providers.

"The repeal of the Global Gag Rule represents a major victory for international family planning programs and renews America’s position as a leader in the global community," Mark Pelavin, the associate director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center, said Friday. "Jewish tradition teaches that if a person saves one life, it is as if they have saved the world. In a world where poor reproductive health remains the leading cause of death for women, and complications from unsafe abortion result in approximately 67,000 deaths and at least 5 million serious injuries annually, today marks an important step forward."

The National Council of Jewish Women also praised Obama.

"On his third day in office, President Obama took an action that will save thousands, if not millions, of lives," the group said in a statement.

Separately, the NCJW also praised the U.S. Senate for passing the "Lilly Ledbetter Act," which effectively removes time limits on when an employee who alleges pay discrimination may sue. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the act, which has widespread Jewish community support. Obama backed it during his campaign and is likely to sign it into law.

It is named for a woman whose discrimination suit against Goodyear was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court because she had failed to sue within 18 months of the alleged discriminatory pay rise, even though the court acknowledged that she had not known of the alleged discrimination within the requisite time limit.

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