Talking Points 26 January

Arrogant Obama?
The Vatican has fallen out with President Obama just days after his inauguration over lifting the ban on state funding for family-planning groups which facilitate abortions overseas.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said that with “the arrogance of someone who believes they are right”, Mr Obama had signed a decree which would “open the door to abortion and thus to the destruction of human life”.

President Obama has lifted a ban on federal funding for foreign family planning agencies that promote or give information about abortion. The US is one of the biggest supporters of family planning programmes globally, but former president George W Bush blocked funds for abortion services.

So the debate heats up yet again in the USA , this group of pro-life supporters in Nashville,Tennessee gathered to call for change when it comes to abortion rights but groups like The Planned Parenthood Federation of America hailed the president for “lifting the stranglehold on women’s health across the globe with the stroke of a pen.”

Was President Obama’s decision to lift the ban on abortion the right one?

22 Responses to “Talking Points 26 January”

  1. 1 James Ayiek Bath
    January 26, 2009 at 11:58

    I personally don’t think it is right for the public broadcaster which is covering news in different parts of the world to waste it time begging help and appeal because it can change it proggramme from rendering news to the people and instead become make it a local broadcaster.it should therefore be a work of local FMS.

  2. January 26, 2009 at 12:08

    bbc can help if it decide to,but it shuold not spent time concentrating on Gaza.we have problems which need to be cover around the world.so it isn’t right for bbc to do like jazzera does to focus in one part of the problem.

  3. January 26, 2009 at 12:23

    The BBC controversial position on whether it should show the DEC appeal is giving DEC more publicity than it needs as this has become one of top news reports on the BBC and other major news channels.

    It can be argued that it’s enough for the BBC to make objective reporting about the ongoing events in Gaza for the public to make their own judgement. The DEC can use other media outlets and emails to get the donations it needs.

    However there must be exceptions when human lives are in danger. The appeal isn’t about supporting Hamas and denouncing Israel. It’s about helping people whose life is completely shattered. The controversy could go unnoticed if the BBC – a very influential channel- wasn’t adamant not to show the appeal on air.

  4. 4 thotem
    January 26, 2009 at 12:27

    I support BBC’s decision not to air a biased appeal.

    Frankly speaking, I believe there should be no aid for Gaza whatsoever.

    If a nation chooses terrorists in free election, and these then start a war which causes a humanitarian catastrophy, then that nation has to deal with the results by itself. Otherwise it will never learn NOT TO do such things, and in a few years we’ll see another war. Needless to say, our aid we send will have been wasted by then…

    Of course, there is a way out of this – one we exercised after WWII. We can bring in the army, occupy Gaza, execute all Hamas leaders like we executed all NSDAP and SS leaders we could catch alive, and jail all other Hamas members like we jailed ordinary Nazi apparatus members. THEN we sure can send in the aid, along with the reeducation programme, just like the one we instituted to bring up the post-war generation of Germans in consciousness of the crimes of their predecessors.

  5. 5 Mohammed Ali
    January 26, 2009 at 12:30

    This is absolutely disgusting to me. I strongly beleive that the BBC is bowing to pressure from the Israelis not to air the Gaza aid appeal. In the case of Tibet, the BBC aired extensive coverage of the events and aid appeal against the wishes of the Chinese government. The BBC give full coverage of aid appeal from Dafur against the wishes of the Sudanese government, same with Burma, Kosovo, Zimbabwe. But when it comes to the issue of airing aid appeal from Gaza then the BBC complains that it impatiality will be questioned. This action in my beleive is simply to satisfy the Israelis.

  6. 6 Mohammed Ali
    January 26, 2009 at 12:38

    Director General Mark Thompson has said that by airing the appeal “The danger for the BBC is that this could be interpreted as taking a political stance on an ongoing story.”

    By not airing the appeal will not only be intepreted as taking political stance by deliberately refusing to help a suffering people and standing by and allow them to die.

    Nobody question or intepreted the BBC actions as taking political stance when it aired aid appeals from other trouble spots of the world. This is just absolute biasness on the side of the BBC against the suffering Palestinians in favour of the Israelis.

  7. 7 Dan
    January 26, 2009 at 12:45

    I think there can be honest disagreement over the BBC policy on airing a charity appeal for Gaza but the deeper question not being asked why haven’t the Islamic states flush with BILLIONS of Petro-Dollars helping their Islamic brothers and sisters in Gaza? Isn’t one of the 5 pillars of Islam Charity?
    What are the Islamic states seeing or what do they know that makes them turn away from helping the Palestinians and why should the liberal West become a sucker for this?
    For me personally I believe the BBC is right to NOT get involved in the middle of this highly political quagmire.

  8. 8 Lubna
    January 26, 2009 at 13:25

    Salaam… I (as a loyal BBC listener) must say that I am deeply disappointed by the BBC’s decision not to air the ad… The BBC has aired before ads calling for humanitarian aid to Darfur and Burma if I weren’t mistaken (notice that both Darfur and Burma are clearly sensitive and contraversial issues too right?), so why on earth should the humanitarian sufferance of the people of Gaza be an exception ?! Is it because Israel isn’t involved in the humanitarian crises of Darfur and Burma while it’s clearly deeply involved in the humanitarian crisis of Gaza ?! How can calling for humanitarian aid to innocent civilians in anyway threaten impartiality ?! Unless of course those innocent civilians are Gazans, then the story is totally different… Excuse me here guys, but my small-sized naive brain just doesn’t get it… Unfortunately this time the internal censorship of the BBC has put humanitarian concerns at the bottom of its priorities list… But still, I still do trust, appreciate, love, admire, and have faith in the BBC… It’s just that this time, you guys have taken the wrong call… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  9. 9 MarcusAureliusII
    January 26, 2009 at 13:50

    Poverty, high infant mortality rates, high maternal mortality rates during pregnancy and childbirth in the developing world can be alleviated to a degree by providing family planning information, contraceptives, and abortions where needed. Removal of the restrictions imposed on America’s support for these activities during the Bush administration is good news for America, good news for the world. It’s also time to start federally funding research into embryonic stem cell technology that has been adversely impacted for the last eight years. Likely appointments to the Supreme Court during the Obama administration will keep Rowe v Wade safe and a woman’s right to an abortion in America the law of the land. The religious right has lost this election. Let’s hope they can keep their protests in their exercise of free speech peaceful and within the bounds of the law.

  10. 10 Mohammed Ali
    January 26, 2009 at 14:00

    All I can say on the Obama’s decision is that I don’t see any arrogance in it. Bravo Pres. obama for that decision. May God bless you.

  11. 11 Swornim
    January 26, 2009 at 15:03

    What are DEC appeal comments doing on “Was President Obama’s decision to lift the ban on abortion the right one?”!!!!!!!

  12. 12 Luci Smith
    January 26, 2009 at 15:13


  13. 13 Sarah Frank
    January 26, 2009 at 18:43

    I don’t regard posting an appeal for aid a political statement. This is about people suffering, not about supporting any goverment or ideology. Supporting civilians who weren’t involved in any decision taking leading up to the conflict what so ever, in my opinion, doesn’ t have anything to do with taking sides.

  14. 14 Ansurd Carey
    January 26, 2009 at 18:46

    What i love about the BBC is that they always report objectively, weather it is war on the other side of the world or a difference in opinion among colleges at the BBC itself.

    On the matter of weather they should Broadcast or not, I think that it would have been a better possession to broadcast the appeal with a disclaimer and let us as listeners decide, its better to help and be called partial than try and protect your self by not helping and still be called partial.

    Thank WHYS.
    Spanish Town, Jamaica

  15. 15 Dan
    January 26, 2009 at 18:47

    There is always the cries “it’s for the children” but where were those people crying when Israeli children were being rocketed?
    Where those people crying when Hamas fighters used children as human shields?
    If the BBC broadcast this Gaza appeal then Hamas will have won by dragging yet another objective party into a dispute and the BBC will no longer be an objective reporter, they will have succumbed to Hamas.

  16. 16 Jim Newman
    January 27, 2009 at 10:41

    Hello again
    I’ve read and reread the question to debate and I havn’t found one single comment that addressess it.
    Any way here goes. I think that Obama’s stroke of the pen was the correct one. The choice of aborting or not should be entirely in the hands of the girl or woman concerned. The abortion itself should be available at the cost of the taxpayer.
    In my opinion most anti-abortionists have a confused sense of social responsibility. Many years ago I was at a demonstration to support the introduction of a law pro-abortion. Whilst handing out the obligatory pamphlets a gentleman snatched a pamphlet out of my hand, tore it up, threw it on the ground and stamped on it. Then he turned to me as though he intended to do the same with me. I said ok ok! we can sort this problem out peacefully. Why don’t you give me your address and I’ll send the next distressed pregnant girl
    I meet to you and if you deal with her successfully it could be the answer to a law allowing abortion. He walked off.

  17. January 28, 2009 at 08:18


    The poor Vatican just HAS to stay on the front page it seems to me. What has happened in the last few days? The Vatican patched up things the the Holocaust denier Williamson. The Pope’s gone YouTube! And they call the most popular politician on the planet “Arrogant?”

    Obama has reversed the U.S.’s abortion position that Bush had reversed days after he took office. Bill Clinton of course supported assisting nations with birth control. That is how things work in a democracy, but not in a theocracy, where the guy closest to the god will ALWAYS display “the arrogance of someone who believes they are right.”

  18. January 29, 2009 at 17:57

    i think that president obama was justified in his decision to lifted the ban of abortion funds..

    ~Dennis Junior~

  19. 19 Emile Barre
    January 31, 2009 at 15:06

    Historically and theologically The Vatican equals hypocrisy par excellence. If I was a catholic I would tell the pope ” pater si magister no”.

  20. 20 Janet
    January 31, 2009 at 15:25

    Making abortions available is only one aspect of this long awaited reversal of Bush’s counterproductive policy. This is about providing funding for family planning services, the goal of which is to PREVENT unwanted pregnancies and thus the need for abortion. But the Pope’s real agenda here is not just to deny abortion services, but ultimately to deny access to ALL contraception.

  21. 21 David Hilbert
    February 1, 2009 at 15:44

    How ironic it is!

    The Republicans, during the campaign,
    screamed “Obama is a socialist!” (“socialist” is a sorta dirty word in the US to many persons).

    Now capitalism is teetering the verge of a collapse caused by
    the strains Bush’s Iraq War going sour, and Bush doing
    all he knew how, throw more money into the crap hole!

    The US is wealthy, but we don’t have infinite wealth,
    and Bush’s throwing more and more money into his Iraq War
    crap hole weakened the US economy, leading to the mortgage
    crisis, and a collapse in consumer spending, reducing US
    imports and thus leading to a worldwide financial meltdown.

    Once the US voters realized what Bush had done, in a desperate
    last gasp to rectify the calamity, they threw these Republican out and handed the reins of power over to Obama.

    Obama knows that this terrible shape, financially, the Republicans
    got us into is only correctable with a huge stimulus program,
    which, though maybe distasteful to the Republicans, is Obama’s
    attempt to solve the very financial crisis these Republicans caused.

    Thus, not only did the Republicans cause this crisis, but are
    blocking Obama’s attempt to fix it!

    The, extreme right-wing Bush, in his desperate attempt to
    keep our economy from collapse, invoked drastic socialistic
    measures, like, effectively, nationalizing banks, but Obama, who
    the Republicans are screaming in their shrill cries, ”Obama is a socialist”,
    at the same time are thwarting his desperate attempt to rescue
    capitalism in the US!

    What irony!

  22. February 3, 2009 at 07:33

    Obama is doing the correct thing. In America we have the right to choose how we live. Abortion is a controversial proceedure, and folks who get them have to live with their decisions. Nobody is forcing abortions on Americans. If you don’t approve, don’t have one. The best you can really do is to try to live your life in a manner that will cause others to emulate your behaviour. As for the playing God argument, I propose that you in fair measure then abandon modern medicine, dentistry, electricity, all mechanical transportation, clean water in cities, and plentiful food from agriculture. All these things are “not natural” and did not exist in the very earliest times. We make our choices from the best information we have, that’s all.

    And as for the stem cell debacle, this is a whole new branch of medicine/biology that is going to rewrite history. The Nation that is not fluent in this technology is eventually going to be “the only guy at the gunfight armed with a knife”. Good, bad or indifferent, this is a science we’ll need to know. Remember our old friend the atom? How about Iron and Steel? Calculus? Gregor Mendel? Chemistry that sprang from alchemy? Where are the nations now that haven’t mastered these?

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