Now that some of the excitement has died down after Barack Obama was elected president last Tuesday, much attention has turned to what he will actually do once he gets into office. Amid all the news about his transition team, and those he is planning to surround himself with, an important piece of news came out this week that is getting the global health community REALLY excited: President-elect Barack Obama is expected to make an executive order to remove the “Global Gag Rule” which essentially prevents any family planning organization abroad to receive US funds if they do anything relating to abortion, which includes even mentioning abortion, providing post-abortion services or counseling, or performing abortions, even in places where they are legal. This policy, also know as the “Mexico City Policy” has come and gone numerous times now. It was created under Reagan, but repealed by Clinton when he took office in 1993, then reinstated when Bush came into the White House in 2000, and hopefully will be removed once and for all this January as soon as President Obama is officially inaugurated.

This is a huge step in the right direction for Barack Obama and brings to mind words like HOPE and CHANGE (pardon their overuse- I think it’s justified in this case) when thinking about all the possibilities in store for the next four years not only in the global health realm, but also in development, aid, and foreign policy realms. Let us hope that with a new administration will also come many new policies to benefit not only Americans and the United States as a country (yes, we do need it), but also the rest of the world.

Check out this article from the Washington Post, which outlines some of the other goodies in store starting January 20th, 2009. Until then, let’s hope Obama continues to make plans for what the next four to eight years will look like.