Author archives: Connor Semelsberger, MPP

When It Comes to Federal Abortion Funding, Biden Is the All-Time King

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 But even President Obama, who also repealed the Mexico City Policy and subsidized employer health plans that cover abortion as a response to the 2008 recession, did not subsidize the abortion industry to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 However, the expanded version of the Mexico City Policy put in place by President Trump which Biden repealed on January 28 covered nearly $8 billion in global health funds, which freed up a far greater amount of funding for international abortion businesses then Obama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.

FRC On the Hill (April 19-23): D.C. Statehood and Banking Access for Big Marijuana

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP

April 23, 2021

Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week as your voice for life, family, and religious freedom on Capitol Hill. Here are some highlights from what FRC worked on in Congress this week.

House Passes an Unconstitutional Bill to make D.C. the 51st State

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 51—a bill that aims to make Washington, D.C. the 51st state—by a vote of 216-208. It was met with fierce opposition from Republican members. No members of either party broke rank, making H.R. 51 a purely partisan bill.

Rep. Andy Harris, the only Republican to represent the state of Maryland in either chamber, voiced his strong opposition to H.R. 51, citing his home state’s initial ceding of land to create the District. He outlined the constitutional problems with making the federal enclave into a new state, especially when land used to create D.C. was once a part of Maryland.

H.R. 51 now heads to the Senate, where only 44 of the 50 Democrats support the bill. FRC will continue engaging with both chambers of Congress to inform members of the constitutional and practical problems posed by D.C. statehood.

Check out FRC’s new resource outlining seven key things you should know about the current campaign for D.C. statehood.

Congress Seeks to Protect Big Marijuana Businesses, Without Debate

The marijuana industry continues to expand as more and more states begin legalizing recreational marijuana. Now, big marijuana businesses have partnered with the banking industry to push Congress for special legal protections. The SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1996) would maintain the current federal prohibitions on marijuana drug use for recreational or medical purposes; however, it would create a special carveout for businesses that buy and sell marijuana to have access to banking and other financial systems.

This bill passed the House 321-101 with virtually no hearing, debate, or amendments allowed to be offered. The FRC team worked diligently to inform House members and their staff of the detrimental impact this bill would have, including propping up the marijuana industry and further exposing families and children to pervasive drug use. Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) lead the opposition to this bill, giving an excellent floor speech outlining how its passage would affect families and children. Unfortunately, many members who typically champion socially conservative issues voted in favor of the SAFE Banking Act, placing business interests ahead of the interests of American families.

This bill now moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to unveil a full marijuana legalization bill soon. Fortunately, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the Senate Banking Committee chairman, has come out in opposition to the SAFE Banking Act and has maintained a constant opposition to marijuana legalization. FRC will work with his office and other senators to ensure that this bill does not reach the president’s desk.

Other Notable Items FRC Tracked This Week

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine voting rights legislation. Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) each gave great testimony and asked questions to counter claims that voter integrity laws are discriminatory.
  • The House Judiciary Committee hearing on enforcing the Voting Rights Act. North Carolina’s lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson, gave a rousing defense of election integrity efforts in North Carolina and across the country.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee hearing on paid leave and child care. Representative Nunes (R-Calif.) brought up the importance of faith-based childcare providers and asked how they could be more involved in addressing childcare needs. 

FRC On the Hill (April 12-16): Standing Up Against Radical Abortion Policies

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Joseph Norris

April 16, 2021

Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week monitoring activity in Congress that affects life, family, and religious freedom and being your voice on Capitol Hill. Here are the most important Hill items FRC worked on this week.

Discharge Petition Filed to Bring Born-Alive Bill to the Floor

Yesterday, one of the newly elected pro-life women in 117th Congress, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), filed a procedural motion known as a “discharge petition” in the U.S. House of Representatives to bring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act up for a vote. If 218 members of Congress sign the petition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be required to hold a vote on the bill. In the previous Congress, Pelosi refused to bring this legislation up for a vote over 80 times.

So far, 205 members have signed the petition, with several more Republican members expected to sign in the coming days. By collecting over 200 signatures in a day, the petition broke the previous record of most signatures. You can track which House members have signed the petition here.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is an important bill that would require medical practitioners to provide the same level of care to an infant that survives an abortion as they would to any other infant born at the same gestational age. Currently, there are no federal protections or mandates to protect these young lives. FRC has worked hard to inform House members about this important issue. In the nine states that require reporting on abortion survivors, FRC found at least 203 cases in which an infant survived a failed abortion.

It is past time for Congress to pass a federal law that protects the lives of infants who have survived abortion. FRC has been monitoring the states that have passed protections and has found that federal law and 32 states do not adequately protect the lives of abortion survivors. We will continue to monitor this issue and push for full legal protection for abortion survivors.

See FRC’s resources for more information on the Born-Alive issue:

HHS Secretary Doubles Down on Abortion Policies in First Committee Hearing

The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Xavier Becerra, appeared before the House Appropriations Committee to testify on the FY22 budget request. During this hearing, Democratic members raved about how excited they were to see their colleague of 24 years, known for his pro-abortion record, serving as HHS secretary. The FRC team monitored this hearing and applauded those members of the committee who took a stand for the unborn. This includes Congressman Ben Cline (R-Va.), who grilled Secretary Becerra on his abortion record.

Representative Cline urged Becerra to support the Trump administration’s policy banning the use of fetal tissue for federal research. Cline also set the stage for bipartisan support of the Hyde Amendment. After getting Becerra to admit his belief that Roe v. Wade is settled law, Cline reminded the secretary that Hyde, which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion, was passed only three years after Roe, and should similarly be considered settled law. It is more important than ever to stand up in defense of life, especially considering the Biden administration’s pro-abortion actions just this week.

Just this past Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that they would not be enforcing the safety requirement that chemical abortion pills only be distributed in person. These requirements were put into place to protect women from severe health complications that have been known to arise from the use of abortion pills. Now the Biden administration has taken action that prioritizes pro-abortion ideology over protecting women’s health. On Thursday, HHS followed up on the FDA’s announcement by proposing the removal of pro-life protections in the Title X Family Planning Program. Removing these protections would allow pro-abortion entities that refused to abide by them (entities like Planned Parenthood) to receive Title X funding.

The Biden administration’s intent to dismantle federal law that protects life was on full display this week, but do not be dismayed. The pro-life community has many opportunities to hold this administration accountable.

See FRC’s resources for more information on Becerra:

Paycheck Fairness Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7) by the slim margin of 217-210. This bill undermines its well-intentioned goal of creating fair wages for men and women by redefining sex in a way that is harmful to women and ignores the biological realities of men and women.

In the Equality Act and women’s sports debates, we are already seeing the harm gender identity ideology poses to women’s rights, privacy, and safety. If it were to become law, the Paycheck Fairness Act could mandate employers to fund hormones or surgeries as a “treatment” for gender dysphoria and abortions as a benefit to employees. The FRC team worked quickly to inform members about the negative implications of this bill before the vote this week.

Other Notable Items FRC Tracked This Week:

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee held a nomination hearing on the nominations of Kristen Clarke to be the associate attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Clarke has perpetuated the left-wing narrative that Bible-believing Christians are bigoted and discriminatory. Her pro-LGBT efforts in law underscore her disregard for the First Amendment right to religious liberty.
  • The Senate Finance Committee held a confirmation hearing for Andrea Joan Palm to be a deputy secretary of HHS and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Both nominees have close ties to Planned Parenthood and have been endorsed by the abortion industry for their forceful support of abortion.
  • The House Oversight Committee held a markup of H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which seeks to make D.C. a state. This effort has a host of problems, primarily that it does not reflect our Founders’ intention for the federal seat of government to be independent of any one state in the Union. This markup sets up a likely vote on this bill next week.

FRC On the Hill (March 22-26): Senate Moves Quickly to Confirm Biden’s Radical Nominees

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Joseph Norris

March 26, 2021

Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week monitoring activity in Congress that affects life, family, and religious freedom and being your voice on Capitol Hill. Here are the most important Hill items FRC worked on this week.

The Senate Moves on President Biden’s Nominees

This week, amidst several votes and confirmation hearings, FRC was hard at work tracking nominations and informing senators on the radical positions held by many of the nominees under consideration. This week, the Senate made progress on several concerning nominees:

Marty Walsh: The Senate voted 68-29 to confirm Walsh as secretary of Labor. The former mayor of Boston has touted his credentials as a champion of the LGBT agenda and often prioritizes it over the constitutional right to religious liberty. Walsh and the Biden administration are now in a position to restrict faith-based organizations from contracting with the Department of Labor unless said organizations comply with their liberal sexuality ideology. See FRC’s blog on Walsh here.

Walsh’s confirmation also means that President Biden now has a full cabinet, with all 15 of his cabinet secretaries confirmed. Although President Trump’s nominees were confirmed earlier, Biden’s nominees have received more bipartisan support, despite being arguably the most pro-abortion cabinet of all time. The delay in confirming Biden’s nominees is likely due to the Senate taking up a second failed impeachment trial of President Trump.

Shalanda Young: The Senate voted 63-37 to confirm Young as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a position with significant influence on federal policy and the budget process. Representative Bob Good (R-Va.) had sent a letter to President Biden highlighting Young’s troubling opposition to the Hyde and Weldon Amendments, two longstanding federal pro-life policies. With Neera Tanden’s nomination having been withdrawn, Young could soon find herself as the director of OMB, wielding even greater influence. See FRC’s blog on Young here.

Rachel Levine: The Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Levine as assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Only Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) broke with Republican ranks to support the nomination. Over the past several months, FRC had been actively educating senators on Levine’s concerning track record. Levine has a history of promoting abortion and actively speaking out against pro-life measures. Even more troubling are Levine’s radical stances on LGBT issues, which include advocating that children as young as five years old be allowed to change their gender without parental consent. Levine, who identifies as a transgender woman, has already announced intentions to use the position at HHS as a means of advancing this ideology.

See FRC’s resources for more information:

Vanita Gupta: The Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance the nomination of Vanita Gupta to be associate attorney general at the Department of Justice ended in a deadlocked tie. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) eloquently stated how Gupta would use her new position to advance abortion while harming women’s sports and religious liberty. The committee chairman cut off Sen. Tom Cotton in the middle of his remarks in order to hold the vote. Gupta now waits to see if the full Senate will discharge her nomination in order to advance towards final confirmation.  

Cindy Marten: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing this past week to assess Marten’s qualifications to serve as deputy secretary of Education during a tumultuous time for all levels of education in our country. Marten has a history of spearheading LGBT issues in the San Diego school district, and Sen. Murray (D-Wash.) directly brought up how she would have the opportunity to break down barriers for LGBT students.

Samantha Power: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a nomination hearing for Power to be the new head of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). As USAID administrator, Power would have the ability to direct global health funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups, which is troubling given her past support for abortion and other anti-life policies. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also raised the issue of her troubling stance on an anti-Semitic UN resolution while serving as Obama’s UN ambassador.

Other Notable Items FRC Tracked this Week:

  • Congress passed an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, even after discovering that Planned Parenthood received nearly $80 million in loans despite being ineligible for the program. Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) lead efforts in committee and on the Senate floor to block Planned Parenthood from receiving these loans.
  • The Senate Rules Committee held a hearing on S.1, a massive bill that would federalize elections and completely undermine election integrity. Senator Cruz introduced a letter for the record on behalf of FRC alongside letters from other conservative groups that oppose the bill.
  • Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.) introduced two new bills supported by FRC. One bill would ban damages or monetary awards in lawsuits against religious monuments and religious imagery in public buildings. The other would make it illegal to transport a minor across state lines to get an abortion.
  • The House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on Extremism in the Armed Forces. The chief of staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) testified. Several members of Congress, including Reps. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) and Austin Scott (R-Ga.), went after the SPLC witness over their fallacious hate group designations and internal turmoil. Other members raised the shooting at FRC in 2012 as a direct implication of their targeting of social conservative organizations.

FRC On the Hill (March 15-19): A Radical HHS Secretary, So-Called “Women’s Rights” Bills, and the Equality Act

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Joseph Norris

March 19, 2021

Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week monitoring activity in Congress that affects life, family, and religious freedom and being your voice on Capitol Hill. Here are the most important Hill items FRC worked on this week.

The Senate Confirms Biden’s Radical HHS Nominee

This week, the Senate voted 50-49 to confirm Xavier Becerra as the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Becerra lacks any significant experience in public health; what he does have is an extensive track record of advocating for pro-abortion policies. The FRC team worked diligently over the past few months to inform senators about Becerra’s troubling history.

Becerra was confirmed with the support of two moderate senators who have voted for pro-life measures in the past, Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Collins (R-Maine). They unfortunately overlooked Becerra’s record and voted to confirm the most pro-abortion HHS secretary in history. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) lead the Republican efforts to defeat Becerra’s nomination and spoke eloquently on the Senate floor. Cotton highlighted Becerra’s history of attacking pro-life groups while serving as California’s attorney general.

It is no fluke that Becerra’s nomination and confirmation coincide with ongoing aggressive lobbying from the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood has called for the removal of all regulations governing chemical abortions. Last month, the Guttmacher Institute released a long list of policy demands for the Biden administration. Now that Becerra is confirmed, FRC will work to expose Becerra’s efforts to implement President Biden’s radical anti-life, anti-family agenda.

See FRC’s resources for more information on Becerra:

House Votes on Women’s Rights Legislation Without Protecting Women

To mark Women’s History Month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on two measures advertised as advancing women’s rights. In reality, both measures contain language that poses great harm to biological women. Leading up to the votes, FRC informed members of Congress of the true nature of these bills and their harmful effects on women.

The first measure was a resolution to retroactively eliminate the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a proposed constitutional amendment that failed to acquire support from the necessary number of states in the 1970s. The ERA has been touted as a legal cure for all unjust discrimination against women. However, the ERA would do little to advance women in society. Instead, it would mandate abortion funding and eliminate existing legal protections that celebrate the biological realities of women. The measure to remove the ratification deadline passed 244-204. However, the ERA garnered the lowest amount of support it has ever received in the past 50 years, with only four Republicans supporting it.

FRC’s Director of the Center for Human Dignity, Mary Szoch, shared her story of playing women’s basketball at Notre Dame and explained how the ERA would limit the dreams of countless women if it were ratified.

The second House measure was a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a historically bipartisan bill originally passed in 1994 in an effort to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and increase the availability of victims’ services. Unfortunately, this reauthorization bill perpetuates and adds language that prevents it from achieving these goals, making the bill about expanding a radical sexuality ideology, not protecting abuse victims. The bill passed 244-172, with many Republicans opposing it due to the provisions that promote abortion and the LGBT agenda. Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.) highlighted how the bill did nothing to protect women from being coerced into an abortion from their partners. Sadly, Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Mo.) thoughtful amendment to ban sex-selection abortions was defeated by the pro-abortion majority.

The FRC team will continue to inform lawmakers on how these bills could be modified to achieve the goal of helping women.

See FRC’s resource for more information:

Debate Continues Around the Equality Act

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Equality Act, a bill that would massively overhaul our federal civil rights framework in order to mandate special privileges for sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), expand abortion access, and gut religious liberty. If the Equality Act were to become law, it would leave many victims in its wake, including women, children, medical professionals, parents, teachers, students, families (including small business owners), the unborn, churches, religious organizations and schools, people of faith, and even those members of the LGBT community it claims to protect. FRC was instrumental in preparing senators to cut through the rhetoric and explain just how bad the Equality Act would be for our country.

Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), the Chairman of the Senate Values Action Team, put it best: “We don’t oppose equality, but we do oppose legislation when you take the rights of one and dismiss the rights of others.”

Alarmingly, President Biden has already said he would sign the bill if it does pass through Congress. FRC will continue to monitor the Equality Act as it moves through the Senate.

See FRC’s resource for more information:

Other Notable Items FRC Tracked This Week:

  • The Senate Health Committee voted 13-9 to advance Rachel Levine’s nomination to be HHS assistant secretary. Levine, a biological man who identifies as a transgender woman, has a history of advancing anti-family policies as the secretary of health in Pennsylvania.
  • The House Veteran’s Affairs Committee held a hearing on improving health care for America’s women veterans. Representatives Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) used this hearing to strongly push the VA to fund abortions. 
  • The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on forced labor. Several senators, including John Thune (R-S.D.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), raised concerns over the forced labor of Uyghur Muslims in China.

FRC On the Hill (March 8-12): Covid Relief Spending, a Radical Foreign Policy Agenda, and Extreme Nominees

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Joseph Norris

March 12, 2021

Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week monitoring activity in Congress that affects life, family, and religious freedom and being your voice on Capitol Hill. Here are the most important Hill items FRC worked on this week.

Congress Passes the American Rescue Plan Act, Sending $450 Billion to the Abortion Industry

This week Congress passed, and President Biden signed, the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package that has more to do with funding abortion than providing necessary relief to Americans. The bill was rammed through both chambers of Congress and despite Biden’s promise of unity, did not receive the support of a single Republican. Throughout the process, FRC worked diligently to add in key provisions that would prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion and promote religious freedom.

The bill includes funding for a litany of things, some having to do with the pandemic such as testing, vaccines, and economic relief in the form of stimulus checks. However this relief is held hostage by the  billions that lack bipartisan restrictions on federal funding for abortion. For the first time in decades, taxpayer money can and likely will go to directly paying for ending the lives of the unborn. This in addition to the $10 billion that can be used to lobby for abortion overseas. The FRC team spent the week informing senators and members of Congress about just how much this bill subsidizes the abortion industry.

While Biden is trumpeting this bill as a “historic victory” for Americans, it is a devastating loss for the unborn and the consciences of Americans who do not want their taxpayer funds paying for the horrific practice of abortion.

See FRC’s resource for more information:

Secretary of State Charts out Biden’s Radical Foreign Policy Agenda

Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to highlight the foreign policy priorities of the Biden administration. Right from the beginning in his opening statement, Blinken openly stated the goals of promoting “women’s reproductive rights” and advancing “LGBT rights” across the globe. As a result, FRC has been tracking the Biden administration’s foreign policy actions to make transparent how dramatic of a shift this is from the policies implemented under the Trump administration.

Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), a strong advocate for the unborn, directly challenged Blinken’s support for countries with population control programs and urged the administration to “speak out” against China and their forced abortion policy. Rather than committing to taking action, Blinken repeated his pledge that we need to focus on human rights across the globe.

The White House also took action this week to entrench a radical sexuality ideology by establishing a new Gender Policy Council via Executive Order. The stated goals of the Council include advancing gender identity and abortion in both domestic and foreign policy. The report stated the need to “promote sexual and reproductive health and rights” across the globe.

Biden’s Executive Orders and Blinken’s statements during the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing showcase the unilateral action the Biden administration plans to take on abortion and human sexuality. This is a far cry from Biden’s promise of unity and Blinken’s repeated promise to work with Congress.

The Senate Continues to Advance Biden’s Radical Nominees

This week, FRC was focused on informing senators about the radical positions of Biden’s nominees, as they are up for confirmation in the Senate. While many of Biden’s picks are concerning, these are the individuals chosen who warrant the most concern:

Shalanda Young: Nominated to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Young was advanced by the Senate Homeland Security Committee despite all Republicans present voting no. Senator Lankford provided great remarks explaining their opposition, highlighting Young’s shocking opposition to the Hyde Amendment and other protections against forcing doctors to perform abortions. See FRC’s blog on Young here.

Marcia Fudge: The Senate voted 66-36 to confirm Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Based on her record in Congress, there are deep concerns that Fudge will roll back protections for religious liberty in the name of LGBTQ equality. See FRC’s blog on Fudge here.

Merrick Garland: Confirmed by a 70-30 vote to be the next U.S. Attorney General, Garland passed with bipartisan support. This is in spite of reservations about a repeat of the Obama administration’s Justice Department.

Xavier Becerra: With a radical track record, Becerra needed a discharge petition vote of 51-48 to bring his nomination to the Senate floor, after a deadlocked vote in the Senate Finance Committee. Despite grave concerns over Becerra’s strong history supporting abortion, both Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) who have supported pro-life legislation in the past, publicly supported his nomination. See FRC’s blog on Becerra here.

Other Notable Items FRC Tracked This Week

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Vanita Gupta to be an associate attorney general. Gupta has taken radical positions on drug legalization and religious freedom protections.
  • The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on expanding veterans access to fertility services with a goal of expanding in-vitro fertilization procedures for veterans without pro-life restrictions to protect human embryos from being destroyed.
  • The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on loosening federal policies on controlled substances. Democrat leaders used the hearing to push legalizing marijuana as a social justice issue. 

American Rescue Plan Act Spends Over $450 Billion that Can Fund Abortions

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP

March 10, 2021

While the American Rescue Plan Act includes funding for testing, vaccines, and other health care equipment as well as economic relief for families like stimulus checks and an expansion of the Child Tax Credit, it comes at the expense of the lives of the unborn.

The American Rescue Plan Act lacks key abortion funding restrictions on over $459 billion, breaking decades of congressional precedent on restricting federal funding for abortion.  

1. Funds that Can Directly Pay for Abortions (Up To $386.7 Billion):

  • $350 billion in funding for state and local governments with little to no guardrails against funding abortions. The funding formula is tilted towards blue states like California and New York who are more likely to abuse this money to fund abortions directly and bail out Planned Parenthood the abortion industry.
  • $8.5 billion for the Provider Relief Fund, which could be used to directly finance abortions as well as to bail out abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood
  • $7.66 billion for public health workers
  • $7.6 billion for community health centers
  • $800 million for National Health Service Corps
  • $750 million for global health activities under the Center for Disease Control
  • $500 million for rural health clinics
  • $330 million for Teaching Health Centers that operate Graduate Medical Education
  • $200 million for medical reserve corps
  • $200 million for the nurse corps
  • $200 million for programs related to sexual assault and domestic violence
  • Amounts of $10 billion for COVID medical supplies that remain after September 2022 are allowed to be spent on other public health-related activities which can include abortion.

2. Funds that Can Subsidize Abortion ($704 Million) and Abortion Lobbying ($10 Billion) Overseas:

  • $10 billion in foreign assistance funds not subject to the Siljander Amendment, allowing these funds to be used for international abortion lobbying.
    • Of these funds, $500 million in humanitarian response activities for migrants and refugees by the United Nations also lack Helms Amendment protections to prevent the UN from using these funds to pay for abortions.
    • Of these funds, $204 million for State Department Activities also lack Helms Amendment protections, allowing these funds to be used for abortions abroad.
    • Of these funds $8.7 billion can be spent on contraception and sterilization procedures overseas and are likely to go to the major abortion business like International Planned Parenthood and MSI Reproductive Choices that provide these services.

3. Major Subsidies for Health Plans that Cover Abortion ($81.7 Billion):

  • For 2021 and 2022, vastly expands Obamacare’s premium tax credits and cost sharing reduction payments, which subsidizes plans that cover abortion. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates these subsidies to cost $45.624 billion.
    • Those under 150% of federal poverty level (FPL) would receive a 100% taxpayer subsidy to enroll in silver plans.
    • Those unemployed of any income level (for 2021) would receive a 100% taxpayer subsidy to enroll in a silver plan, and enhanced cost-sharing reduction payments.
    • Those between 150% and 400% FPL would receive a much more generous subsidy than current law.
    • Middle class taxpayers above 400% FPL, ineligible under current law, would become newly eligible for a significant subsidy so that the benchmark silver premium doesn’t exceed 8.5% of household income.
  • For six months, subsidizes 100% of the cost of COBRA continuation coverage. This subsidy covers the cost of health care premiums for the newly unemployed to remain on their employer sponsored health plans, which includes many plans that cover abortion. JCT estimates these subsidies to cost $35.095 billion.

4. Bailout for Abortion Businesses ($50 Million)

  • $50 million for the Title X family planning program – The Biden administration will likely direct these funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses that withdrew from Title X over pro-life changes that were made by the Trump administration. Longstanding requirements on political lobbying, encouraging parental involvement, and reporting sexual abuse are not included.

Biden’s Cabinet (Part 1): Secretary of State Blinken Plans to Expand Abortion Worldwide

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Joseph Norris

January 28, 2021

This is Part 1 of a blog series examining the records of President Biden’s Cabinet picks on abortion and family issues.

Many senators think newly-confirmed Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s decades of experience and foreign policy credentials make him a good fit to lead the State Department. Unfortunately, based on Blinken’s past statements and President Joe Biden’s stated foreign policy objectives, it seems likely that Secretary Blinken would support and promote abortion internationally through an aggressive pro-abortion agenda.

The Trump administration went to great lengths to advocate for pro-life policies abroad. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that abortion is not a human right and condemned any attempt to make a “new international right to abortion.” He and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar wrote a letter pushing back against the United Nations effort to expand abortions internationally. The Trump administration reinstated the Mexico City Policy and expanded it as the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy (PLGHA). PLGHA ensured that abortion providers and their subgrantees were unable to access taxpayer dollars abroad. These actions protected the world’s most vulnerable citizens, the unborn. Unfortunately, the Biden administration is expected to undo many of these policies and set a new bar for abortion advocacy abroad.

The Biden administration will differ drastically from the pro-life attitude of the Trump administration, especially in the international arena, where Biden has made several promises and commitments. Throughout his campaign, Biden pledged to expand abortion access and contraceptives and to fully rescind PLGHA. As secretary of state, Blinken will help Biden achieve this goal internationally. Planned Parenthood applauded Blinken’s nomination, writing that he will help achieve the goal of “[ending] the reproductive rights abuses … around the world.” The nominee himself has stated on Twitter that he believes Biden needs to protect women’s “reproductive rights” worldwide. 

With the World Health Organization, United Nations, and other international organizations pushing to make abortion an international right, pro-life leadership in top government positions is needed now more than ever. Unfortunately, judging by Blinken’s past comments and actions, he will not be providing that leadership. While he was deputy secretary of state under President Obama, the Office of Global Women’s Issues was used to push for a radical sexual and reproductive health agenda under his leadership.

Although Blinken has not been a torchbearer for the abortion industry, his statements and past actions show that he will advocate for expanding the cruel practice of abortion internationally. His confirmation means the current secretary of state is no longer a champion for the unborn. Instead, Blinken will surely fall in line with President Biden’s agenda to expand abortion.

Connor Semelsberger, MPP is the Director of Federal Affairs for Life and Human Dignity at Family Research Council.

Joseph Norris is a Policy and Government Affairs intern focusing on pro-life federal affairs.

House Resolution Coerces Members to Support Abortion Rights

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Ruth Moreno

October 9, 2020

Earlier this month, a former employee at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Georgia filed a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security, alleging that hysterectomies were being performed on detainees at the Irwin County Detention Center without appropriate informed consent. The U.S. House of Representatives has responded by passing a resolution condemning all perpetrators and calling for them to be held accountable.

House Resolution 1153, led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), justly condemns the performance of “unwanted, unnecessary medical procedures on individuals without their full, informed consent.” Unfortunately, House Democrats couldn’t resist inserting partisan language into what ought to have been a straightforward and bipartisan resolution. The resolution’s second clause states that “everyone deserves to control their own reproductive choices and make informed choices about their bodies.” This begs the question: to what kinds of reproductive choices is the clause referring? The Democrat-controlled House most likely intends the so-called “right” to abortion, ignoring the rights of the unborn in the same breath as condemning ICE for violating the rights of women.

This resolution would not be the first time Democrats have embraced antithetical positions regarding human rights violations and abortion. Although Democrats insist human rights and abortion are one and the same, abortion is the very opposite of human rights, because every successful abortion ends a human life. It should also be noted that the abortion industry, which has long backed Democrat candidates, has a troubled history with eugenics. Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was a eugenicist who viewed abortion and birth control as a means of controlling the population of the “unfit.” While Planned Parenthood’s current leadership may publicly disavow eugenics, many of its abortion facilities are situated in minority communities, and women of color are statistically much more likely to obtain abortions in the U.S. than white women.

Democrats are also slow to condemn the atrocity of forced abortion, which happens in many nations around the world, including the most populous country, China. Even here in America, many women who obtain abortions report having felt coerced into that decision by friends, family members, or boyfriends.

In many parts of the world, unborn children are aborted due to unwanted physical or mental disabilities, or even for being female. Iceland prides itself on having nearly “eradicated” Down syndrome, but in reality, the only reason the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased in that country is because children diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero are often killed prior to birth via abortion. In India, where sex-selective abortion is rampant, a new study has shown that there might be as many as 6.8 million fewer girls than boys born between 2017 and 2030.

House Democrats are right to condemn the practice of forcing hysterectomies on non-consenting women. The allegations raised against ICE at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia should be thoroughly investigated to ensure that all offenders are brought to justice. By dragging abortion into H.Res. 1153, however, Democrats have created a needless roadblock to bipartisanship while also highlighting their hypocrisy on the issue of human rights.

In response to the partisan H.Res. 1153, Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) introduced the Informed Consent Act (H.R. 8498), which would prohibit any abortion or sterilization procedure performed without informed consent and impose a 10-year penalty on anyone who violates this provision. The issue of forced abortion and sterilization should not be co-opted as a means of promoting legal abortion. If Democrats truly had women’s best interests in mind, they would support H.R. 8498 and condemn any violence done to women and their unborn children.

Presidential Order Recognizes All Newborn Life is Precious

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Ruth Moreno

September 30, 2020

On September 25, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that reinforces existing protections for children born premature, with disabilities, or in medical distress, including infants who survive abortion. The Executive Order on Protecting Vulnerable Newborn and Infant Children responds to credible concerns that some hospitals have refused to provide medical screening and stabilizing treatment to such children because “they believe[d] these infants may not survive, may have to live with long-term disabilities, or may have a quality-of-life deemed to be inadequate.” However, such refusals violate multiple federal laws, as the EO explains.

An EO is not a new law. Rather, it is a directive from the president instructing the executive branch on how to enforce existing law. This particular EO is primarily concerned with ensuring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) properly enforces three existing laws:

Specifically, HHS must ensure:

  • all federal funding recipients understand their obligations toward vulnerable children;
  • all federal funding recipients provide medical screening examinations, stabilizing treatments, or transfers when needed;
  • all federal funding recipients provide these services to all children, regardless of disability;
  • violation complaints regarding medical care for newborns and infants are investigated;
  • disability discrimination complaints can be filed on the HHS website; and
  • research into treatments for infants born with emergency medical conditions and programs that train medical personnel to care for said infants are prioritized.

This EO clarifies medical protocols for infants born with disabilities or who survive abortion. However, the executive branch is limited to enforcing the laws that already exist. A legislative fix is necessary to provide true legal protections for infants who survive abortion. Since 2006, five states have reported at least 179 cases in which an infant has survived an abortion. Because not all states report this data, the 179 cases we do know about do not even begin to paint the full picture of the number of abortion survivors in the United States. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is a bill before Congress that would legally require medical professionals to give the same level of care to infants that survive abortion as they would to any infant born at the same gestational age, and include criminal and civil penalties for any physician that fails to give appropriate care to these infants.

Unfortunately, pro-abortion politicians have fallen victim to the abortion industry’s lies. They have halted every effort in Congress to denounce infanticide and provide full legal and medical protection for these innocent babies. Vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) voted against this life-saving measure twice, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has continuously blocked Republican efforts to have a House floor vote on the bill.

Congress has neglected its duty to ensure that the right to life is secured for all individuals born in America. President Trump has stepped in to fill the void left by Congress’ inaction by issuing this Executive Order, demonstrating this administration’s willingness to do what is necessary to protect the unborn, the disabled, and every infant who has survived the horror of abortion.

Connor Semelsberger, MPP is the Legislative Assistant at Family Research Council.

Ruth Moreno is a Policy and Government Affairs intern focusing on federal legislative affairs, with a concentration on pro-life issues.

Archives