Tag archives: Federal Government

Biden’s WHO Debacle Highlights Need for More Transparency

by Joshua Arnold

May 26, 2022

Before World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was re-elected without opposition this week at the World Health Assembly, House Freedom Caucus members took the Biden administration to task for not proposing an alternative candidate. What’s worse, as they wrote in their letter, the Biden team is “now attempting to hand him more control.” Tedros first attained the office after heavy lobbying by the Chinese Communist Party, and his ties to China remained strong through the COVID pandemic. The Biden administration has proposed amendments to the World Health Assembly’s international health regulations which would strengthen the Director General’s unilateral authority. So, House Freedom Caucus members demanded the Biden administration “provide the American people with total transparency and respect for our nation’s sovereignty. Under no circumstances should you cede our government’s operational control in a public health emergency to an international body.”

The Biden administration’s problems with transparency stretch beyond their proposed amendments to the World Health Assembly to hamstring American sovereignty on public health affairs; they also can’t seem to tell the whole truth on how the COVID pandemic got started to begin with. Once again, China proves a major player.

Two professors at Columbia University—hardly voices of the fringe right—wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed journal, “no independent and transparent scientific scrutiny to date of the full scope of the U.S.-based evidence” has been performed on the origin of COVID-19. Professors Neil Harrison and Jeffrey Sachs explained, “the relevant U.S.-based evidence would include the following information: laboratory notebooks, virus databases, electronic media (emails, other communications), biological samples, viral sequences … and interviews … together with a full record of U.S. agency involvement in funding the research on SARS-like viruses.” They insist the U.S. intelligence community either has not made their investigation into these materials transparent or has simply “fallen far short of conducting a comprehensive investigation.” Basically, they expect the rest of us to take their word for it, something Americans object to strongly.

Harrison and Sachs lay out the mounds of evidence suggesting someone in the U.S. should have a notion about what happened in Wuhan. The “active and highly collaborative U.S.-China scientific research program” was “funded by the U.S. government,” they wrote, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Did no American officials consider the government could have been bankrolling the research of a Chinese bioweapons program? Other U.S. agents participating include EcoHealth Alliance (EHA), the Universities of North Carolina and of California at Davis, the NIH, and the USAID. These and “other research partners have failed to disclose their activities,” they complained. “The precise nature of the experiments that were conducted … remains unknown.”

Blanket denials from the NIH are no longer good enough,” Harrison and Sachs continued. “A steady trickle of disquieting information has cast a darkening cloud over the agency.” The NIH “resisted the release of important evidence” and “continued to redact materials released under FOIA [the Freedom of Information Act], including a remarkable 290-page redaction in a recent FOIA release.” Yet FOIA requests and leaked documents have slowly but steadily revealed an unflattering picture, which prompts people to ask, what else are they trying to hide?

Among the most suspicious facts uncovered so far, research proposals “make clear that the EHA-WIV [Wuhan Institute of Virology]-UNC collaboration was involved in the collection of a large number of so-far undocumented SARS-like viruses [of the same type as COVID] and was engaged in their manipulation.” The insertion of a gene sequence found in COVID, but not other known viruses of the same type, “was a specific goal of work proposed by the EHA-WIV-UNC partnership within a 2018 grant proposal.” That proposal was not funded by the agency from whom it was requested, “but we do not know whether some of the proposed work was subsequently carried out in 2018 or 2019, perhaps using another source of funding.” Harrison and Sachs said there was a “very low possibility” of such a gene sequence occurring naturally. Less scientifically, we know that high-level employees like Dr. Anthony Fauci seemed suspiciously eager to direct public scrutiny away from their publicly funded projects in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

There’s no doubt that greater transparency on the part of Chinese authorities would be enormously helpful,” the paper argued, but that doesn’t get the U.S. government completely off the hook. “We call on U.S. government scientific agencies, most notably the NIH, to support a full, independent, and transparent investigation of the origins of SARS-CoV-2.” From NIH to WHO, the Biden administration could use more transparency all around. If they would start tackling real problems instead of always aiming at the public relations problem, perhaps they could win back the trust of the American people.

No Communion for Thee: Nancy Pelosi, Abortion, and Pastoral Authority

by David Closson

May 26, 2022

In an explosive announcement last week, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone declared that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may no longer receive the sacrament of the Eucharist because of her outspoken support for abortion. The surprising news was released in a series of letters published by Cordileone, the Archbishop of San Francisco. The decision amounts to a rare public rebuke of one of the nation’s most recognized politicians who identifies as Catholic and raises questions about pastoral authority, discipleship, and spiritual responsibility.

In a letter to Pelosi published on Friday, Cordileone, who oversees Pelosi’s home diocese, explained his rationale to the Catholic lawmaker. Citing the Second Vatican Council and Pope Francis, Cordileone explained, “A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal Church law provides that such persons ‘are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.’” According to the archbishop, Pelosi’s “extreme position” on abortion combined with her regular public comments identifying herself as Catholic necessitated Cordileone take pastoral action.

Although there is precedent for Catholic bishops not admitting politicians to communion over abortion (Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has been unable to receive the Eucharist in his home diocese for 17 years), it is rare. Moreover, Pelosi’s role as Speaker of the House (and third in line for the presidency), makes the archbishop’s decision particularly noteworthy. Thus, even for non-Catholics like myself, the story deserves attention.

First, Archbishop Cordileone underscored in his letter the “scandal” caused by Pelosi’s public support for abortion. In Roman Catholicism, a “scandal” refers to behavior that leads others to do evil. Cordileone used the word “scandal” four times to refer to Pelosi’s abortion advocacy, noting that the Speaker’s support for abortion has not only endangered her own soul but has caused harmful confusion among practicing Catholics and other Catholic politicians about the church’s teaching on abortion.

Specifically, the archbishop noted Pelosi’s regular practice of referring to her Catholic faith in the context of championing abortion. For example, as recently as May 4, Pelosi referred to herself as a “devout Catholic” and described opposition to abortion as “appalling.” Cordileone mentioned Pelosi’s recent efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law after Texas passed a heart-beat bill in September. Under Pelosi’s leadership, the House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act in September, legislation that if enacted into law would weaken conscience protections for medical professionals, jeopardize prohibitions on taxpayer funding for abortion, enshrine late-term abortion into law, strike down many pro-life laws passed in the states, and equate the death of unborn children with routine medical procedures.

Second, Archbishop Cordileone noted Pelosi’s “resistance to pastoral counsel.” In letters published on Friday to the Catholic community and fellow priests serving in the archdiocese, Cordileone explained that the Speaker’s “resistance to pastoral counsel has gone on for too long.” He noted that he has prayed and searched his conscience for years about how to respond pastorally to Pelosi’s abortion stance and has attempted—without success—to speak with her privately on at least six occasions within the previous year.

On the point of pastoral care, it is worth noting the theological implications of Cordileone’s decision to bar Speaker Pelosi from the Eucharist. The Catholic Church holds to a sacramental theology which teaches that to be in a state of grace members must regularly receive the sacraments. Among the seven sacraments recognized in Catholicism, the Eucharist (known as the Lord’s Supper or communion in other Christian traditions) is seen as the most important, as members encounter and receive the literal body and blood of Jesus in communion. However, Catholics may not receive the Eucharist if they are conscious that they have committed a grave sin and have not first made a sacramental confession (1 Cor. 11:27).

Thus, while critics in the media were swift to allege Cordileone had “weaponized” the sacrament and waded into politics, the archbishop’s decision was an unmistakable sign to Pelosi and other Catholics that he is gravely concerned about the Speaker’s soul. As he explained in a subsequent letter, his motives were “pastoral, not political.”

Third, Archbishop Cordileone’s decision to forbid Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion was motivated in part by how radical the Speaker’s abortion advocacy has become. Although Pelosi has supported abortion rights for decades, the Speaker (along with many in her party) has adopted positions in recent years that make previous support for abortion look moderate in comparison. For example, since assuming the speakership for the second time in 2019, Pelosi has strongly advocated for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion. The Hyde Amendment has been in place for over 40 years and has been supported by both her and President Biden in the past. Moreover, as noted earlier, the Speaker’s support for the radical Women’s Health Protection Act highlights an extraordinary commitment to the abortion lobby. According to Cordileone, this commitment puts the Speaker clearly outside what is permissible for someone claiming Catholic faith. 

A final point to consider from this story is the broader question of how church leaders (Catholic and non-Catholic) ought to exercise their spiritual authority when church members (particularly government officials and policy makers) are implicated in the sin of abortion. In the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, bishops and priests bear a personal responsibility to care for the spiritual needs of the people in their diocese or parish. In 2021, Archbishop Cordileone himself explained this responsibility, saying, “I tremble that if I do not forthrightly challenge Catholics under my pastoral care who advocate for abortion, both they and I will have to answer to God for innocent blood.” In my view, Cordileone is exactly right about his responsibility to his people, and it is appropriate for him to publicly call Speaker Pelosi to repentance for her support of abortion. The Bible teaches that ministers will one day give an account for how they stewarded their spiritual oversight of the church (Heb. 13:17). Thus, church leaders have a special obligation to hold members accountable, especially those who are highhandedly flouting church teachings in the public square.  

While politicians like Pelosi may sincerely believe they are “devout,” true devotion, in the context of a confessional community like a church, is proved by commitment to the church’s actual teachings. As Andrew Walker observes, “To purport to be a Christian politician who can believe and advocate for things contrary to the Christian faith is a complete repudiation of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.” When Christian politicians support policies that contradict clear biblical teaching (and, in the case of the Catholic Church, clear authoritative interpretations of Church doctrine), it brings into question the authenticity of their faith. Put another way, rejecting, denying, and working against core convictions of one’s professed faith undermines the credibility of that faith and raises questions about one’s desire to remain affiliated with a church that someone has no desire to submit to or obey.   

In conclusion, the Catholic Church has been consistent in its opposition to abortion. Pope Francis has called abortion a “grave sin” and the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to abortion as a “moral evil.” Additionally, the Bible affirms the personhood of the unborn from cover to cover. Thus, from the perspective of Catholic social teaching, Archbishop Cordileone’s decision to forbid Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion is in line with the Church’s longstanding teaching on abortion.

The outrage expressed by many in the media over the archbishop’s decision demonstrates once again how disconnected most Americans are from basic Christian teachings on ecclesial authority. Thus, while commentators like entertainer Whoopi Goldberg have told Archbishop Cordileone that denying communion to Speaker Pelosi is “not your job,” Christians following this story should be grateful that the archbishop seems to know exactly what his job is in this situation—to extend pastoral care to a wayward member while courageously defending church doctrine.

Biden-Backed WHO’s Latest Power Grab Fails

by Joshua Arnold

May 24, 2022

The Biden administration’s attempt to usurp Congress’s public health authority by rewriting international law may have just encountered an untimely grave. The Biden administration submitted a number of amendments for consideration at the World Health Assembly which would bolster the World Health Organization (WHO) Director General’s pandemic authority without the consent of member states. The World Health Assembly is the WHO’s decision-making body and is meeting in Geneva this week, but “the most interesting thing that happened did not happen at the assembly itself,” said Michael Alexander, co-chair of the Law and Activism Committee of the World Council for Health.

A first-year law student in the U.K.” objected to the amendments, Alexander explained on “Washington Watch.” He “asked the courts to review these amendments, and the court rejected him summarily. So he appealed. And then he got a letter from the government that said 12 of 13 international health regulation amendments have been taken off the table and will not be addressed at this Assembly, at least at this time.”

It’s unclear how or why the amendments were tabled. It seems they were considered by a working group comprised of member states, but the group is “not transparent,” Alexander said. “We don’t know who’s on it and who’s saying what,” or even how many nations are members—although there are rumors that Brazil and Russia opposed the amendments.

It’s also unclear whether their tabling was permanent. We also “don’t know how the approval process works. … The 12 amendments are off the table right now,” Alexander continued, but “maybe … they’ll come back on in a day or two, and they’ll be approved in some way that is not transparent to us. So we have good news for the moment, [but] we have to keep an eye on what’s happening there.”

What is clear is that the Biden administration is unable to advance its public health agenda without these amendments. “The United States clearly didn’t play a role” in tabling the amendments, Alexander said.

But what is the Biden administration’s agenda at the World Health Assembly? They would add duties to states like, “The State Party shall accept or reject such an offer of assistance within 48 hours and, in the case of rejection of such an offer, shall provide to WHO its rationale for the rejection, which WHO shall share with other States Parties.”

They propose changing “State Party within whose territory the public health emergency of international concern has occurred” to “relevant State Parties,” which is undefined. They propose to delete language such as “taking into account the views of the State Party concerned” and “WHO shall consult with and attempt to obtain verification from the State Party in whose territory” the public health emergency occurred.

The changes largely tend either to decrease the sovereignty of a state, increase the rights of other states to meddle in its affairs, and increase the power of WHO officials. In a letter to President Biden, Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) complained the amendments would “grant unilateral authority to declare public health emergencies of international or regional concern to the WHO’s Director General and Regional Directors, respectively. This would be an alarming transfer of U.S. sovereignty to an unelected U.N. bureaucrat.” Leftist outfits like Snopes and The Washington Post have taken great pains to dispel “conspiracy theories” about this year’s World Health Assembly, which “is usually considered a dry, technocratic event,” but they achieve nothing more than missing the main point. The very trouble they take to defend the Biden administration’s amendments demonstrate something more is going on.

The concluding notes of the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t satisfy the Biden administration. Their efforts to chase down increasingly unrealistic objectives with increasingly onerous mandates ended with the virus mostly burning itself out, even while the administration was still arrayed on the losing side of multiple legal battles. Pharmaceutical companies, public health agencies, and administration officials all suffered precipitous drops in credibility. It seems that the administration has finally admitted to itself what most of the country already knew—the executive branch lacks the power to unilaterally impose its desired draconian response to a public health emergency under current U.S. law.

But instead of concluding that extreme public health responses were out of bounds, the administration has tried to steal a run on the American people. The Biden administration’s proposed amendments to the World Health Assembly’s international health regulations seem calculated to force a nation’s hand on public health matters, if a global cadre can agree on the measures they should take. If the amendments were ratified, an administration could defend extreme measures during the next pandemic by protesting that they simply had to take certain actions because of international consensus.

As problematic as such surrender of sovereignty would be under any circumstances, it is even more concerning given the WHO’s pathetic response to COVID-19. “This is the same organization that parroted the narrative from the Chinese Communist Party throughout the COVID pandemic,” said FRC President Tony Perkins. First they said, “it’s not human-to-human transmission. And then they sat on [data] for so long. And they failed really at every turn, even so much that the previous administration withdrew the United States from the World Health Organization.” Alexander agreed that the WHO was “a captured organization,” dependent on giant pharmaceutical companies and rich donors. “This is not an independent, neutral bureaucratic organization, … not an organization that is looking to the common good of its members.”

In his opening address on Sunday, WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asserted that the pandemic is “most certainly not over.” Alexander warned Ghebreyesus is “China’s man,” a former Marxist warlord in Ethiopia who obtained his position “with the lobbying of the Chinese.” Is that really who we want running public health here in America?

FDA Acknowledges Prenatal Screening Risks, But Fails to Condemn Eugenic Abortion

by Mary Szoch

April 28, 2022

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a statement warning of the “risks associated with non-invasive prenatal screening tests.” The statement reads:

While genetic non-invasive prenatal screening tests are widely used today, these tests have not been reviewed by the FDA and may be making claims about their performance and use that are not based on sound science … Without proper understanding of how these tests should be used, people may make inappropriate health care decisions regarding their pregnancy. We strongly urge patients to discuss the benefits and risks of these tests with a genetic counselor or other health care provider prior to making decisions based on the results of these tests.

Of course, by “inappropriate health care decisions,” the FDA likely means the decision to kill an unborn child.

The statement continues:

Many laboratories offering these tests advertise their tests as “reliable” and “highly accurate,” offering “peace of mind” for patients. The FDA is concerned that these claims may not be supported with sound scientific evidence.

This simple acknowledgment that these tests are not approved by the FDA and their inaccuracy could be leading to abortions that otherwise would not take place comes as a welcome surprise—especially since this is the same agency that just months ago loosened health and safety protocols governing chemical abortion pills despite evidence that these pills are unsafe for pregnant mothers. Although it is riddled with euphemisms and disingenuous word choices, the FDA statement will likely decrease the number of abortions that occur in the United States. However, the FDA is far from adopting a philosophy of respect for life.

In its statement, the FDA also writes:

Conditions caused by a missing chromosome or an extra copy of a chromosome are more common and may be easier to detect, such as Down syndrome, which can cause physical and intellectual challenges. A missing or extra piece of a chromosome may result in rarer conditions, such as DiGeorge syndrome, which can cause heart defects, feeding difficulties, immune system problems and learning difficulties. … Pregnant people have ended pregnancies based on the results of genetic prenatal screening alone, without understanding the limitations of the screening tests and that the fetus may not have the genetic abnormality identified by the screening test.

The failure to acknowledge that only women can be pregnant is not the only problem with this statement. It implies that if the tests were correct—if the unborn child had the genetic abnormalities indicated by the tests—the decision to kill the unborn child would not be “inappropriate.” Although not explicitly stated, the subtext of this statement is that the FDA sees nothing wrong with eugenic abortions.

Sadly, other parts of the world have accepted eugenic abortions as well. For example, in multiple countries, nearly every unborn baby prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome is aborted, and in Western countries, around 95 percent of babies prenatally diagnosed with a severe form of spina bifida are aborted.

The FDA is correct; many—including the authors of the statement—do not understand “the limitations of the screening tests.” A screening test may be able to tell parents if their child is at greater risk of a genetic abnormality. Further testing may be able to state more conclusively if a child is at risk of having a genetic abnormality. But no test can measure the worth of a child. No test can predict the love, joy, and suffering a child will endure. No test can predict the impact a child will have on the world.

Although the pro-life community should be grateful for the lives that will be saved as a result of the FDA’s warning, the fight against eugenics must continue. As long as abortion is legal in the United States, people with disabilities will be targeted in the womb. Every life has equal dignity and worth. We must pray for the day when our laws reflect that fact by completely protecting life.

Senate Confirms Abortion Extremist Shalanda Young

by Dan Hart

March 16, 2022

With a disappointing vote of 61-36, the Senate confirmed pro-abortion extremist Shalanda Young as the director of the Office of Management and Budget this past Tuesday.

As we have previously pointed out, the issue with Young isn’t merely that she is “pro-choice,” as is virtually every liberal Democrat. The problem with Young is that she is in favor of forcing every American to fund abortion with their tax dollars and also sees no issue with forcing all health care workers to participate in carrying out abortions, even if they have religious or moral objections.

For Young, repealing the Hyde Amendment—which prohibits taxpayer funding from paying for abortion in Medicaid—is an issue of “racial justice.” Her claim that prohibiting taxpayer funding for abortion disproportionately affects women of color is indeed true, but it doesn’t convey what she thinks it does. As the latest CDC data shows, black women are four times more likely to get an abortion than white women—undoubtedly because black women are targeted by the abortion industry that locates the majority of their facilities in minority neighborhoods. Under Hyde, black babies are much more likely to be protected from a taxpayer-fueled abortion regime.

Young is on the record as being opposed to both the Hyde Amendment and the Weldon Amendment, which are both historically bipartisan measures meant to prevent tax dollars from funding abortion and to protect the conscience rights of pro-life Americans.

The confirmation of Young is the latest example of President Biden’s pattern of filling his administration not just with pro-choice appointees, but with individuals who actively advocate for leaving no room for Americans to have differing views on the most heated and contentious moral and political issue of our time.

Moving forward, FRC will continue to closely track the individuals that the Biden administration nominates and will alert the public to encourage them to contact their senators and congressmen and voice their concerns about far-left extremist nominees. Let us pray that in the future, the Biden administration will avoid choosing divisive pro-abortion activists, especially those whose views leave no room for pro-life Americans to live out their lives in the public square.

**For more information on our work tracking the Biden administration’s anti-family actions and nominees, see: frcaction.org/biden

Biden’s 100 Days of Failing Women

by Mary Beth Waddell, J.D.

May 4, 2021

Last week, during his address to a joint session of Congress and the nation, President Joe Biden acknowledged the historic nature of a female vice president and speaker of the House of Representatives sitting on the dais, and said, “we need to ensure greater equity and opportunity for women.” Unfortunately, he has done exactly the opposite in his first 100 days in office by making good on his promise to push gender identity ideology—which seeks to erase the vitally important genetic and physiological differences between men and women.

Last June, in Bostock v. Clayton County, the U.S. Supreme Court radically re-wrote Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by holding that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in the statute’s prohibition of sex discrimination in matters of employment. Sex non-discrimination laws are meant to protect biological women, and the Court’s insertion of gender identity ideology flips the law’s intent on its head. On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order requiring that the Bostock re-definition be adopted across the federal government.

In this order, President Biden specifically mentioned Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which provides equality for women in sports. He also signed another executive order that effectively undid the previous administration’s good work in the education space, further entrenching the LGBT agenda into schools and obliterating women’s sports and private spaces.

The previous administration had responded to Bostock by issuing a memo that affirmed biology and equality in regard to Title IX—the Department of Education (ED) under Biden has since archived that memo. The Department of Justice issued a memo on Bostock’s application to Title IX, indicating that it did apply. Further, ED has withdrawn the previous administration’s letter of findings against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and its member schools regarding its violation of Title IX for allowing biological boys to compete in sports designated for biological girls.

Additionally, President Biden has used the phrase “all genders” in various memoranda and proclamations. One of the most egregious references is contained in the proclamation for American Heart Month. The president said that heart disease affects “all genders” and merely acknowledged that “the symptoms of a heart attack can be different for men and women.” He didn’t acknowledge the importance and need for further sex-specific study. The world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital notes that it has only been in recent non-male-focused studies that this differential has become more known. Johns Hopkins has its own Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center that provides education, comprehensive treatment, and diagnostic services to prevent and manage heart disease in women. A National Institute of Health listed study from 2010 entitled “Gender differences in coronary heart disease” concluded that, “A greater awareness of the differences in presentation […] between men and women, with gender-based interpretation of diagnostic tests, is mandatory […] to improve therapeutic strategies and outcomes in women.”

This necessity extends across the medical field. Medicine must be based in science and the patient’s physiological makeup, yet President Biden’s actions have made it clear that he disagrees. He nominated Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services despite his having no relevant experience. His only credentials are being radically anti-life and anti-faith and advocating for radical sexuality ideology. For assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, Biden nominated Rachel Levin, who severely failed to properly handle the COVID-19 pandemic while serving as Pennsylvania’s secretary of health. Levine has an alarming record of prioritizing the radical sexuality agenda over public health and advocates gender transition for children, which is extremely harmful. Sadly, young girls are a particular target of this agenda.

Furthermore, legislation that the president has supported in both official statements and his joint session speech are detrimental to women. He called on Congress to pass the Equality Act, a massive bill that would overhaul our federal civil rights framework to, among other things, mandate acceptance of gender identity ideology, leaving women and others to suffer the consequences. If enacted, the bill would go much further than allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports, thereby unfairly penalizing female athletes. It would also obliterate women’s private spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, and battered women’s shelters. This would be especially devastating for battered women who need a safe and private space to heal because biological men would be allowed to enter their shelters.

President Biden also called for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and made official statements praising H.R. 1620, the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2021. VAWA was indeed enacted in 1994 to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and increase the availability of victim services. Unfortunately, the 2021 reauthorization bill would undermine VAWA’s purpose by further traumatizing battered women by allowing biological men into shelters designated for women. It would also reduce resources for battered women, given its mandated acceptance of gender identity ideology, which creates onerous burdens and litigation. The 2021 reauthorization would also allow organizations known to cover up abuse and sex trafficking to access VAWA grant funds. Lastly, it would put incarcerated women at risk of abuse by allowing biological males, sex offenders included, into women’s prisons if they say they identify as a woman.

While all of this looks bleak for women’s rights, privacy, and safety, fortunately, there is hope. Little traction exists for the Equality Act, and there is both federal and state legislation to protect women in various areas like sports, shelters, and medicine to hopefully stop the administration’s harmful agenda. This fight is just beginning. We will have to see how it plays out over the next four years.

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.

Biden’s Cabinet (Part 6): Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh’s Fixation on the LGBT Agenda

by Joseph Norris

March 23, 2021

This is Part 6 of a blog series examining the records of President Biden’s Cabinet picks on abortion and family issues. Read previous posts on Antony BlinkenXavier BecerraJennifer GranholmMarcia Fudge, and Shalanda Young.

Confirmed by the Senate 68-29, Marty Walsh, the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), will have to choose between advancing the LGBT agenda and protecting religious liberty. Given the policies of past Democratic administrations and Walsh’s own track record, it is safe to assume that he will advocate for policies that favor the LGBT agenda to the detriment of religious liberty.

Walsh served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives before serving two terms as the mayor of Boston. During his confirmation hearing on February 4, Walsh highlighted his status as a labor union member and advocate. A closer analysis of his background reveals a long track record of prioritizing the LGBT agenda. As a Massachusetts state representative, Walsh argued in favor of same-sex marriage bills. As Boston’s mayor, he intentionally hired several LGBT employees as a political statement, not based solely on their merits for the job, and made the bathrooms in City Hall gender-neutral. Walsh also sought to ensure that city employees had access to “transition-related healthcare services.” Walsh seems set to continue his LGBT activism at the DOL.

The policies of the Obama-era DOL severely limited the religious liberty of faith adherents that sought to contract with DOL. As a result, religious individuals and non-profit organizations were less likely to seek government contracts or utilize government services. Seeking to reverse this trend, the Trump administration’s DOL finalized a rule encouraging “the full and equal participation of religious organizations as federal contractors.” Family Research Council had submitted comments in support of this rule change, which ensured that people would “be free to believe as they engage with the government and in the public square.” This rule change is one of the policies that is likely in danger with Walsh at the helm of the DOL.

As FRC’s David Closson has noted, there is a growing perception in America that religious liberty is merely an excuse for bigotry. We must tactfully and graciously contradict this misconception, explaining that religious liberty—freedom of belief—is good for everyone, not just people of faith. Christians should also pray that Walsh and the DOL will seek the good of all American workers while still respecting the religious freedom protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Biden’s Cabinet (Part 5): Abortion Extremist Neera Tanden May Soon Be Replaced With Another – Shalanda Young

by Ruth Moreno

March 11, 2021

This is Part 5 of a blog series examining the records of President Biden’s Cabinet picks on abortion and family issues. Read previous posts on Antony BlinkenXavier BecerraJennifer Granholm, and Marcia Fudge.

President Biden’s latest cabinet pick is another pro-abortion extremist. After Neera Tanden’s nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget was withdrawn over her radical policy positions, many senators, including Republicans, rallied around Shalanda Young, his nominee to be Deputy Director of OMB as an alternative to Tanden. Unfortunately, during her nomination hearing, it was revealed that Young opposes both the Hyde Amendment and the Weldon Amendment, bipartisan measures meant to prevent tax dollars from funding abortion and protect the conscience rights of pro-life Americans.

Young’s responses to Senator James Lankford’s (R-Okla.) questions for the record after a March 4 committee hearing confirm these radical positions. When asked about the Hyde Amendment, which has stopped taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for elective abortions since 1976, Young responded as follows:

If confirmed I will follow the laws put forth by Congress and signed by the President. The President has spoken in favor of Congress ending the Hyde Amendment as part of his commitment to providing comprehensive health care for all women. Further, eliminating the Hyde Amendment is a matter of economic and racial justice because it most significantly impacts Medicaid recipients, who are low-income and more likely to be women of color.

Young’s response, far from being a straightforward statement about the law or about the Biden administration’s policy agenda, suggests that she is an active supporter of the elimination of the Hyde Amendment. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said as much when he explained why he voted against confirming Young:

I had planned to support Ms. Young based on her testimony before the committee,” Portman said. “In reviewing her answers to the committee’s questions for the record, though, I’ve got to say I was really troubled by her responses, particularly her strong advocacy for eliminating the Hyde amendment.”

Young’s position on the Weldon Amendment is equally worrisome. The Weldon Amendment, which protects individuals who have a religious or moral objection to participating in an abortion, has been included in funding bills since 2005. This important conscience protection withholds federal funding from agencies or programs that discriminate against health care providers that do not pay for or promote abortion, but Young’s response when asked about the Weldon Amendment did not suggest her support:

If confirmed I will follow the laws put forth by Congress and signed by the President. The President has laid out a health care plan that would provide comprehensive health care for all women, including reproductive health care services.

Young gave Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) nearly identical responses, adding that if she is confirmed to the position as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, she “will work with the Department of Health and Human Services to determine the effect the Weldon Amendment has on healthcare implementation, especially vulnerable populations.”

Young is right that public servants should consider the needs of vulnerable populations, but abortion is not the solution. Forcing pro-life Americans to fund a practice they believe is morally equivalent to murder and penalizing health care providers with religious or moral objections to abortion does nothing for the needy. Young should know better than to disguise her opposition to the Hyde and Weldon amendments as concern for the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed.

Biden’s Cabinet (Part 4): Marcia Fudge Would Roll Back Religious Liberty Protections at HUD

by Joseph Norris , Mia Steupert

March 10, 2021

This is Part 4 of a blog series examining the records of President Biden’s Cabinet picks on abortion and family issues. Read previous posts on Antony BlinkenXavier Becerra, and Jennifer Granholm.

The ongoing debate over how legal protections for sexual orientation and gender ideology impact individuals, businesses, religious institutions, and the public square will take center stage under President Biden’s administration. This is something President Biden’s nominee to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Marcia Fudge will have to grapple with if she is confirmed. The six-term Democratic Congresswoman from Ohio will be in charge of leading a department that is tasked with ensuring housing for low-income individuals through a litany of government-funded programs. It is likely that she will strengthen Obama-era regulations that prioritized LGBTQ-identified individuals over others, including women, girls, individuals of faith, and faith-based organizations.

A study released by Baylor University found that most homeless shelters in the United States are run by Christian organizations. These organizations could bear the brunt of the liberal sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) policies that are passed by HUD. If Fudge is confirmed, she will have the opportunity to renew and further the Obama-era policies that used departmental rules to elevate protections of LGBTQ-identified individuals over others. Already, she voted in favor of codifying these special protections back in 2014, which would have enforced the LBTGQ ideology on private contractors with traditional religious beliefs. President Obama used HUD to advance LGBTQ ideology, when back in 2009, his administration commissioned a study to investigate discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. This led to a 2012 rule which forced participants in HUD-assisted and HUD-insured housing programs to forfeit their religious beliefs if they wanted to continue their participation. Following this, a 2016 rule regarding HUD’s Community Planning and Development Programs was finalized which forced those participating in these programs (like sex-segregated homeless shelters) to allow biological men into private spaces intended for biological women and to forfeit their religious beliefs if they wanted to continue participation.

In 2020, the Trump administration proposed a rule to begin to roll back these regulations with then-Secretary Ben Carson remarking that this was an attempt to “better accommodate religious beliefs of shelter providers.” This rule would have given those operating as single-sex or sex-segregated facilities some flexibility in developing their own “admissions determination” policies. While the rule would not have given complete freedom, since organizations were still bound by local policy, it gave facilities more freedom to exercise their religious beliefs. Additionally, in compliance with a 2018 executive order titled “White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative,” nine federal agencies, including HUD, finalized a rule that these agencies must give faith-based organizations the same opportunities to participate in their programs as their secular counterparts. With Fudge’s past voting record as a congresswomen, her past statements and her backing by the Human Rights Campaign for her pro-LGBTQ voting record, it is safe to assume that Fudge will scale back the advances for religious liberty made at HUD by the Trump administration.

There has been no clear statement whether Congresswoman Fudge would continue these policies, but her voting record is a strong indication. During her 12 years in Congress, she developed a strong pro-LGBTQ voting record. In 2011, she sponsored a bill that would add SOGI protections to school activities and facilities. Similarly, she voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would have amended the Defense of Marriage Act to codify same-sex marriage. Outside of Congress she has publicly supported SOGI ideology and called for more action on the issue. Given her past record and her statements, it is likely that Marcia Fudge will not only push for a return to the regulations from the Obama administration but will also take these rules that threaten the religious liberty of Americans to new heights.

President Biden has already shown during his first few weeks in office that he has no problem advancing his liberal agenda through unilateral action. Fudge could issue memoranda or guidance and oversee rules that limit religious liberty and force organizations across the country to decide between their faith and access to greater resources to help the needy in their community, including battered women and the homeless. We should all pray that, if confirmed, Fudge’s actions do not come to fruition, for if they did, they would limit the avenues of help for those in need. If she is confirmed, we pray for a conversion of her heart and that she will use her platform to uphold the religious liberty rights of all people.

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

Mia Steupert is a Policy and Government Affairs intern focusing on family and religious liberty.

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