I am a Christian, pro-life woman who has heard pleas in recent weeks from a number of thoughtful pro-life friends not to be a “single-issue” voter. Abortion, they reason, is not materially impacted by the presidency. Legitimate considerations undergird this view —until you actually read the Biden platform.
The argument that US presidents have little impact on abortion distills down to two main points, beyond the fact that overturning Roe v. Wade alone will not eliminate abortion. Namely, the best means of lowering abortion rates are 1) state and local restrictions such as ultrasound laws and waiting periods; and 2) medical care and poverty relief for women that will lift them out of the despair driving them to consider abortion.
But here’s the rub — the Biden Agenda targets both approaches.
Pervading the Biden 2020 Vision is a comprehensive and chillingly specific assault on faith-affirming charity. Biden has promised, within his first 100 days, legislative and executive actions that will not only target all state restrictions on abortion, but also decimate religious charities at home and abroad.
First, Biden commits that “his Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate the constitutional right to an abortion, such as so-called TRAP laws, parental notification requirements, mandatory waiting periods, and ultrasound requirements.[i]”
Biden chose in Kamala Harris a champion of abortion so extreme she supports aborting viable unborn infants up until birth, which the great majority of Americans do not. She even voted against requiring medical care for live babies born in botched abortions. In Virginia, where Governor Northam (in)famously suggested infanticide for babies surviving abortions, Democrats wiped out 10 years of hard-fought pro-life laws within a matter of days, after taking over the legislature in 2019. Biden’s plan defines and funds abortion itself as healthcare, not as a tragedy to be averted. Imagine the impact on abortion rates if, in addition to delivering federal funding for abortions in the US and overseas, President Biden’s Justice Department overturns every ultrasound and waiting period law across fifty states.
The second, essential means of reducing abortions is ensuring care for vulnerable women and families. Some of the largest and most effective providers of such care are faith-affirming foster and adoption agencies, churches, and health providers. President George W. Bush considered them so essential he established the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to support them.
Biden, however, views them as a threat. Tucked in the weeds of his platform is the statement that “many government-funded foster care and adoption agencies still discriminate against LGBTQ+ families.” This is followed by the promise to reverse the “broad religious exemptions to existing nondiscrimination laws and policies across federal agencies.”
This is wonk-speak for “if you have views and policies consistent with a biblical or religious understanding of marriage, sexuality and gender, Biden’s administration will shut you down.” The ability of agencies to deliver care is impacted in myriad ways by government regulation, funding and taxation. Thousands of children and families have already been harmed nationwide by politicians who have used these means to put ideology before compassion, solely because they disagreed with a provider’s religious views[ii].
One of them is Philadelphia’s oldest foster agency, Catholic Social Services (CSS), which has lived out its faith-driven commitment to vulnerable children for 200 years. Holding to Catholic doctrine, CSS places children with married heterosexual couples, and refers same-sex couples to other agencies citywide. But to Democrat city officials, allegiance to LGBTQ orthodoxy far outweighed the needs of children caught in the system. They shuttered CSS, denying children access to families still waiting to welcome them (freetofoster.com.) Two heroic CSS foster moms have taken their case to the Supreme Court, where it will be heard November 4, 2020.
An estimated 8,000 faith-affirming agencies will be affected by this case. Unconscionable numbers of families, children and expectant mothers will be denied homes, adoption, and critical life-giving care if Biden’s agenda passes, cementing into law this intolerance toward religious providers.
Biden promises to “make enactment of the Equality Act during his first 100 days as President a top legislative priority.” This misnamed Act renders punishable by law “discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity...in a wide variety of areas... public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing... to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.” Religious organizations nationwide — under religious freedom protections — provide all these services to poor communities nationwide. But not if Biden prevails. He promises to destroy those protections: “[t]he bill prohibits the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 from providing a claim, defense, or basis for challenging such protections.”[iii]
The 25-page “Biden Plan to Advance LGBTQ+ Equality in America and Around the World” is masterfully comprehensive. It includes:
- bans on counseling minors
- reinterpretation of Title IX to erase both athletic opportunities and privacy protections for women and girls in locker rooms and restrooms
- forcing medical insurers and providers to carry out gender transition therapies (including surgery)
- using federal funds for gender transition therapies
- forcing homeless shelters, prisons and schools to allow access by opposite sex transgender individuals to women’s housing and restroom facilities.
These and countless other provisions will run counter to the religious beliefs of many providers and clients.
Yet Biden’s previous era in the White House shows he will enforce them. One need only recall the aggressive pursuit of the Little Sisters of the Poor, attempting to force them to violate their beliefs through the “contraception mandate” (Zubik v. Burwell). The Sisters had to divert precious time and resources to endless legal battles, when their mission was to serve the sick and elderly.
Indeed, once the Act is signed, “Biden will also direct his Cabinet to ensure immediate and full enforcement of the Equality Act across all federal departments and agencies.“ The word “enforce” occurs four times in this introductory section alone, promising a dictatorial sweep of all personnel, agencies and programs in the name of eradicating “discrimination.”
Religious believers across America serve their communities in joyful partnership with those who hold differing views from their own. The Biden Vision holds no such nuance, no understanding of a love for God that leads one to love one’s neighbor, and yet humbly hew to a scriptural framework of marriage, gender and sexuality.
Biden’s Agenda extends around the globe, to be proclaimed his inaugural week in a “Presidential Memorandum prioritizing his administration’s support for LGBTQ+ human rights and development worldwide” followed by:
- Immediate appointments of “senior leaders across the government,” including at the National Security Council, US Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of State, and in the judiciary
- “[P]ublic information campaigns” overseas
- Prioritizing US foreign assistance to empower LGBTQ+ organizations and activists
- Ensuring “development assistance will be screened and evaluated” accordingly
This campaign will be waged with “the full range of our diplomatic tools and foreign assistance,” up to and including sanctions on non-compliant countries.
What happens when this far-reaching ideological assault encounters desperate needs for humanitarian assistance in countries with traditional or religious frameworks? With governments deemed to “foster a climate of intolerance” or engage in violations of LGBTQ+ rights, “the Biden Administration will aggressively use pressure tactics, as appropriate, including sanctions.”
And if the hiring policies of religious relief organizations run afoul of Biden’s agenda? Millions of refugees, disaster victims and the desperately poor around the world are served by agencies such as Samaritan’s Purse, World Relief, and World Vision, and could be cast to the wind. Early this year, Samaritan’s Purse health professionals risked their lives to serve New York City’s COVID-19 patients. New York kicked them out, choosing ideological posturing over the lives of its own citizens.
Biden elevates adherence to LGBTQ+ orthodoxy above religious beliefs and compassion, consistently and specifically opposing religious exemptions. The implications are chilling and vast for providers whose religious convictions do not comply with his Plan — in sum, deny your religious beliefs and policies on gender, sexuality and marriage, or face “immediate and full enforcement.”
Biden’s sweeping legislative and regulatory overhaul will decimate not only unborn life, but the ability of faith-affirming agencies to provide desperately needed social, medical, counseling, humanitarian, educational, fostering and adoptive services both in the US and around the world.
Biden calls it his Vision 2020. For the most vulnerable among us, it will be a nightmare.
[i] All quotes unless otherwise indicated from the Biden campaign website detailing his agenda for healthcare, women and LGBTQ+ rights (emphasis mine).
Laura Bryant Hanford was the lead Congressional staff drafter of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. She also served at the US Embassy in Romania as the officer in charge of human rights, focussing on ethnic minorities, women and refugees. She is actively involved in school policy and religious freedom issues in Virginia, where she lives with her family.