(CFAM) — Pro-abortion organizations that strongly supported Joe Biden in the recent U.S. presidential election are hoping that after being inaugurated in January, he will immediately move to dismantle the pro-life policies enacted by President Donald Trump. Even before Biden became his party’s nominee, they had assembled their wish list.
Last year as a Democratic presidential nominee was emerging, a coalition of over 90 “reproductive rights” groups including Planned Parenthood published a detailed blueprint to advance their agenda both nationally and internationally. In August of this year, they released a list of “first priorities” for the next administration, beginning with an executive order declaring explicitly the president’s commitment to expand access to abortion in the U.S. and around the world.
Biden has already promised to rescind the Mexico City Policy, which was expanded under Trump to cover all global health funding. He has also promised to restore funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and reestablish the country’s membership with the World Health Organization (WHO).
The United States is already the largest contributor to global family planning, with an estimated $608 million budgeted for family planning and reproductive health in fiscal year 2019. The “first priorities” of abortion groups calls for that amount to be increased to $1.6 billion, including $111 million for UNFPA. And, it seeks to abscond HIV/AIDs funding that has an annual budget of over $6B for the purchase of birth control commodities.
They also call on the next president to remove the pro-life restrictions on foreign aid funding, such as the Helms Amendment that blocks direct funding for abortions overseas and the Kemp-Kasten Amendment that safeguards family planning funding from promoting coercive practices. The Siljander Amendment currently prohibits U.S. funding from being used to lobby either for or against abortion in foreign countries. Abortion groups are asking that it be modified to only prohibit pro-life lobbying.
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Some of these would require changes to legislation, which is the role of Congress, not the President. If the Senate remains under Republican control, the pro-life protections in law are likely to remain in effect. Though the Helms amendment could be redefined to include funding for abortions under some exceptions. The Obama administration took preliminary steps to do the same before Congress was alerted and the Administration halted its plan.
Nevertheless, the executive branch has a great deal of control in U.S. foreign policy, and the “first priorities” document calls on the president to direct the State Department to “champion sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in UN meetings and multilateral forums.”
As a first step, this would mean “adopting and advancing comprehensive definitions of SRHR and comprehensive sex education,” as they have not been formally accepted or defined in UN negotiations.
One priority of abortion groups that Biden appears likely to support is the appointment of strident “reproductive rights” advocates throughout his administration. Unlike Trump’s political appointees, who encountered numerous roadblocks when working with career civil servants who opposed the President’s policies, Biden’s team would likely face less obstruction.
After the election was called for Biden, the president of California’s Planned Parenthood affiliates delivered a statement highlighting the “blueprint” document. “The list is long,” she acknowledged, but promised that Planned Parenthood “will be there to hold this administration accountable for its promises to the American people every step of the way.”