Published April 30, 2021
During the first 100 days of his administration, President Joe Biden has demonstrated his willingness to champion the progressive movement’s radical preferences on abortion policy.
This reality comes as little surprise, given that during his campaign for the Democratic nomination, Biden renounced his decades-long support for the Hyde amendment — which prevents taxpayer funds from directly underwriting elective abortion procedures — after facing pressure from abortion-rights activists.
Though Biden has long claimed to be “personally pro-life,” he has never shied away from supporting legal abortion, arguing that to oppose abortion as a politician would be tantamount to imposing his religion on others.
As president, Biden appears to have shed any last vestiges of pretending to believe that unborn human beings deserve even minor protections under the law or that pro-life taxpayers ought not be forced to fund elective abortions.
Early in the administration, Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson announced that her organization was helping the Biden transition team to staff the incoming administration, and she told Newsweek that they expected Biden to follow marching orders when it came to abortion.
“The first thing we would like to see would be an executive order on day one, within the first 100 days, that demonstrates the administration’s commitment to sexual and reproductive health care,” Johnson said.
Planned Parenthood needn’t have worried. One of Biden’s very first executive orders issued upon taking office reversed the Mexico City policy, which had prohibited U.S. aid money from funding nongovernmental organizations that perform or promote abortion overseas.
This spring, Biden signed the Democrats’ enormous stimulus bill — improperly labeled a COVID-relief package — that not only didn’t include Hyde-amendment protections but explicitly directed about $50 million straight to Planned Parenthood’s coffers.
While Biden made a few moderate choices for several key positions in his administration, he reserved for the Department of Health and Human Services a radically pro-abortion nominee, former California attorney general Xavier Becerra. The choice evidently was meant to pacify progressives demanding that the administration undo President Trump’s protections for religious freedom and conscience rights, as well as his move to partially defund Planned Parenthood.
Becerra, whose career has featured no notable health-care experience or expertise, is best known for his progressive stance on major social issues. As a U.S. congressman, for instance, he voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion, a vote he stood by during his confirmation hearing for HHS.
As California attorney general, Becerra focused his legal power on persecuting pro-life whistleblowers, attempting to force pro-life clinics to advertise for abortion, and suing the federal government so that religious employers would be forced to provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in violation of their beliefs.
Already at HHS, Becerra has taken Biden’s direction and begun the process of undoing a Trump-administration policy that required abortion providers to financially separate their abortion business from the rest of their work in order to remain eligible for Title X federal family-planning funds. The reversal will result in Planned Parenthood — which had withdrawn from the program over the rule — receiving tens of millions more from the federal government going forward.
Finally, under Biden’s leadership, the Food and Drug Administration has chosen to remove safety standards for the chemical-abortion drug Mifeprex, determining that women need no longer obtain the drug at an in-person doctor’s appointment. The decision came after a year-long campaign from abortion-rights activists, who argued that the policy was a restriction on abortion, ignoring substantial evidence that chemical-abortion drugs pose significant risks to women, making the in-person policy a wise one.
Though he still formally professes the Catholic faith and has never publicly renounced his “personal” opposition to abortion, Joe Biden has spent his first 100 days in office ensuring that no one on the left can complain that he hasn’t done enough to expand access to elective abortion on the taxpayer dime.
Alexandra DeSanctis is a staff writer for National Review and a visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.