Leaders affiliated with the Pro-life Evangelicals for Biden initiative have expressed disappointment with the Biden administration’s support of a measure to remove a legal statute limiting taxpayer funding of abortion.
The Biden administration recently declared support for a COVID-19 relief bill that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding of abortion in most instances.
In a statement posted on the Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden website, the evangelical leaders and scholars argued that they “feel used and betrayed.” But, they “have no intention of simply watching these kinds of efforts happen from the sidelines.”
“Many evangelicals and Catholics took risks to support Biden publicly. President Biden and Democrats need to honor their courage,” the statement reads.
“We call on President Biden to honor his commitment to us and immediately demand that the House of Representatives apply the Hyde language to the American Relief Package.”
Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden went on to declare that this “is no time for radical change to longstanding abortion policy” and called on certain Democrats in Congress by name to “demand the Hyde Amendment be included.” They warned that if “this is not done, it will raise the question of whether or not we are still welcome in the Democratic Party.”
“As pro-life leaders in the evangelical community, we publicly supported President Biden's candidacy with the understanding that there would be engagement [with] us on the issue of abortion and particularly the Hyde Amendment,” the statement explains. “The Biden team wanted to talk to us during the campaign to gain our support, and we gave it on the condition there would be active dialogue and common ground solutions on the issue of abortion. There has been no dialogue since the campaign.”
Signatories to the letter include Fuller Seminary President Emeritus Richard Mouw and Evangelicals for Social Action President Emeritus Ronald Sider.
In October of last year, the group released a statement urging pro-life evangelicals to vote for Biden despite the Democratic Party’s views on abortion.
Sider, a longtime evangelical figure and an advocate for biblical solutions to social and economic injustices, also edited a book released last year called The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump in which 30 evangelical Christians talked about why they opposed the former president.
Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative advocacy organization Family Research Council and Trump supporter, responded to the Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden statement by contending that the group “can't say they weren't warned.”
“Everyone in America knew where Joe Biden stood on abortion — because he told them. In 13 debates, multiple campaign ads, and a Planned Parenthood townhall,” Perkins wrote in a statement on Monday.
“If Evangelicals for Biden want to say they never saw this COVID bill and its abortion funding coming, then they were the only ones.”
Perkins quoted Biden, who had said on the campaign trail that while he had supported the Hyde Amendment for years while in Congress, he could no longer do so.
“Once they ate of the fruit the Biden campaign was offering the damage was done. The Biden team got what they wanted in 2020: cover for their unbiblical, anti-faith position on abortion,” continued Perkins.
“… the people who argued that evangelicals needed to either back away from Donald Trump, sit out the election, or vote for Joe Biden own this — and all of the other ungodly, evil policies flowing from Capitol Hill.”
Weeks before the presidential election, Sider and Mouw wrote an opinion column published by The Christian Post touting the pro-life evangelical coalition’s statement of support for Biden.
A key point of their argument was that while Biden was pro-choice, his positions on other issues such as racial reconciliation, healthcare reform and immigration made his platform more consistent with biblical values.
“… we believe that on balance, Joe Biden’s policies are more consistent with the biblically shaped ethic of life than those of Donald Trump,” declared the statement in part.
“Therefore, even as we continue to urge different policies on abortion, we urge evangelicals to elect Joe Biden as president.”
Correction:Wednesday, March 10, 2021
A previous version of this article stated incorrectly that the Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden statement expressing disappointment in the Biden administration was backed by Pastor Joel C. Hunter. Although Hunter would like for the Hyde Amendment to be protected, he contacted CP to state that he did not sign the letter "since President Biden was clear about his intentions in his pre and post-election communications on the matter."