by Connor Semelsberger, MPP
April 28, 2021
President Biden has allowed more taxpayer funding to be used for abortions or by abortion businesses then any president before him in their first 100 days. So far, FRC has tracked down almost $480 billion under the Biden administration that can be used to subsidize abortion and abortion businesses. It is unlikely that all of this funding will in fact be used to fund abortion. However, these funds expressly exclude existing prohibitions on abortion funding, allowing what could be for the first time in decades direct taxpayer funding for elective abortions.
Since 1973 when Congress passed the Helms Amendment (the first congressional prohibition on taxpayer funds which specifically prohibits foreign assistance funds from paying for abortion overseas), there has been a longstanding bipartisan agreement that the federal government should not subsidize the practice of abortion. In the 48 years since then, the federal government has taken further actions to directly prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion and health plans that cover elective abortion domestically and abroad.
The first breach of this longstanding consensus was the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. The ACA was the largest breach of this consensus as it directly bypasses current restrictions on abortion funding. But even President Obama, who also repealed the Mexico City Policy and subsidized employer health plans that cover abortion as a response to the 2008 recession, did not subsidize the abortion industry to this degree this soon into his presidency.
President Obama did repeal President Bush’s Mexico City policy, which prohibits family planning funds from going to international organizations that commit abortions during his first months in office. However, the expanded version of the Mexico City Policy put in place by President Trump which Biden repealed on January 28 covered nearly $8 billion in global health funds, which freed up a far greater amount of funding for international abortion businesses then Obama did in 2009.
The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 response package that President Biden signed on March 11 is where the vast majority of the funds for abortion and abortion businesses comes from. And in that package, Biden not only expanded upon President Obama’s policies that subsidize abortion but went to far greater lengths to include program funding that lacks any substantive prohibitions on abortion funding.
President Obama signed a stimulus package early in his first term that would cover 65 percent of Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) health plans for the newly unemployed to remain on their employer sponsored health plans, many of which cover elective abortions. This subsidy was extended into May 2010, so the overall costs were not determined, but initial cost estimates came in at $24.7 billion. Biden likewise approved a COBRA health subsidy as part of his COVID relief package, but his subsidy went further to cover the full 100 percent of COBRA health plans, which was estimated to cost $35.095 billion.
Obama cemented his legacy with his signature health care victory in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This law created permanent subsidies for health plans that cover abortion, to the tune of $13 billion in 2020. While the ACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010, it was not fully implemented until 2014—well into Obama’s second term. Biden, however, took early advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to dramatically expand these tax subsidies that fund ACA plans that cover abortion. These expanded ACA subsidies are estimated to cost $45.624 billion.
The largest source of Biden’s funding that can be used for abortions is the $350 billion in funds for state and local governments to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, without a single reference to prohibiting the use for abortion or abortion businesses. While the funds must be used under the general requirement of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has already been made clear by the abortion industry that they are treating abortion as both a health and economic response to the pandemic. In 2019, New York City created its own abortion fund with local dollars, and now with billions being sent out to states with minimal guardrails, many other cities and states could follow suit—all on the backs of federal taxpayers. We may never know how much of these state bailouts go to line the pockets of the abortion industry, but we do know that the Biden administration left the door wide open for these funds to do just that.
Additionally, the Biden administration has directly ignored the congressional intent of the Paycheck Protection Program to exclude Planned Parenthood from being eligible. Instead, since taking office, his administration has already approved four new loans totaling $6.7 million for various Planned Parenthood affiliates. A direct line of federal funding for Planned Parenthood to use on salaries, health benefits, and equipment in his first 100 days is something President Obama could have only dreamed about.
Tragically, the use of taxpayer funds for abortion will not stop here as President Biden has already taken several actions to further subsidize the abortion industry. The Department of Health and Human Services has already proposed new regulations that would once again send millions of Title X Family Planning Funds to abortion businesses, with many more actions to promote abortion underway.
President Biden has come into office at an unprecedented time in history, one in which the country is facing a global pandemic and Americans appear more divided then ever. There are few more unifying policies then prohibitions on direct taxpayer funding of abortion, a policy that has garnered a majority support from Americans for years. Instead of maintaining these unifying policies that he himself has supported as a senator, Joe Biden is cementing himself as the largest financial supporter of the abortion industry that has ever occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.