There are a lot of things the Bush administration has wrought that need to be done. This is an encouraging start:
Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.
A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.
A lot of the initiatives the new administration is likely to undo were some of Bush’s nakedly political, like limits on stem cell research, which was a carrot to religious conservatives.
But we could finally see an end to the draconian global gag rule — a Reagan-era policy (later rescinded by Clinton, and reinstated on the first day of the latter Bush’s presidency) which prevents foreign NGOs receiving USAID dollars for family planning from using their own, non-American money to perform abortions or to counsel women on it. (Again, making abortion illegal doesn’t stop women from having abortions, it just means they have unsafe ones.) Organizations that don’t comply with the U.S. ban don’t just get their American money cut off, but they also lose access to badly needed American-supplied condoms and contraceptives — which, one assumes, leads to more “back-alley” abortions in those countries.