Biden has hijacked PEPFAR to promote abortion
House Republican bill includes strong provisions to protect unborn children
The following are excerpts of remarks delivered today by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chair of the House Global Health Subcommittee, in support of House Republican legislation (HR 4665) that includes strong provisions to protect unborn children and reverse President Biden’s hijacking of PEPFAR—the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief—to promote abortion:
“Mr. Speaker, the state foreign operations bill under consideration today continues and strengthens the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR) for another year—FY2024—ensuring that critically needed medicines—including anti-retroviral (ARVs) and other life-saving interventions—are available to those who need them in Africa and elsewhere.
Special thanks to Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart and the Committee on Appropriations for insisting that the noble purpose of PEPFAR not be compromised or undercut by integrating and merging other agendas—including and especially the promotion of abortion by massively funding pro-abortion foreign non-governmental organizations and instructing them to repeal pro-life laws and policies.
To that end, the new State, Foreign Operations bill reinstates the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy.
Mr. Speaker, immediately upon assuming office, President Biden repealed the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy—previously known as Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Policy—which ensured that PEPFAR’s over $6 billion dollars a year in taxpayer grant money wasn’t subsidizing foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion on demand.
Biden’s PEPFAR Core Program and Policy Priorities unambiguously states that it will continue: “Promoting and protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights, including through ongoing rescission of the Mexico City Policy”.
The executive director of UNAIDS—a prime PEPFAR partner composed of WHO, United Nations Population Fund, UN Women and eight other UN agencies—welcomed Biden’s repeal of the pro-life policy saying it showed Biden’s commitment to “sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services.”
According to Biden, the term “reproductive healthcare services” includes services related to abortion--the “termination of a pregnancy.”
A June 6th letter signed by 131 African lawmakers and religious leaders, including the Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana, implored Congress not to exploit PEPFAR to promote abortion stating, “……we want to express our concerns and suspicions that this funding is supporting…abortion, that violates our core beliefs concerning life, family, and religion…”
“We ask that PEPFAR remain true to its original mission and respect our norms, traditions, and values. We ask that those partner organizations with whom the U.S. government partners to implement PEPFAR programs in ways that are cognizant and respectful of our beliefs and not cross over into promoting divisive ideas and practices that are not consistent with those of Africa.”
Last year, leaving no doubt as to their global pro-abortion goals, the Biden Administration announced a sweeping radical new PEPFAR implementation strategy called Reimagining PEPFAR’s Strategic Direction that integrates sexual and reproductive health and rights—including abortion—with HIV/AIDs work.
The idea of integrating the killing of unborn children by abortion with HIV/AIDs programs isn’t original. The World Health Organization, UN Population Fund, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and others, have all been aggressively pushing an identical integration strategy for years.
The Biden plan instructs pro-abortion non-governmental organizations receiving PEPFAR funds to change laws and policies on abortion in PEPFAR targeted countries.
The PEPFAR 2023 Country and Regional Operational Plan Guidance for all PEPFAR-Supported Countries clearly states that PEPFAR “should work with organizations advocating for structural, systemic, and institutional reforms in law and policy regarding sexual, reproductive…rights.”
In a recent Washington Times op-ed, former Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote: “It is incredibly disappointing, but not surprising, that the Biden Administration has hijacked one of President George W. Bush’s greatest accomplishments—the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)—to promote abortion on demand in the developing world.”
He continued, “President Biden’s insincere and demonstrably false claim that PEPFAR isn’t pushing abortion on demand in Africa and elsewhere collapses under any serious scrutiny of its partners.”
A recent letter from leading pro-life organizations also raises concerns about PEPFAR partners writing, “Over 25 in-country recipients of PEPFAR funding are committed to performing and promoting abortion, and the Biden Administration has expressed its intention to deepen its ties to such organizations under the rubric of promoting ‘reproductive health’ through PEPFAR contracts. This funding is being used to erase current life-affirming laws and replacing them with abortion permissive laws and policies in African nations, where the cultural and religious views of these countries’ populations make them overwhelmingly committed to protecting life.”
These pro-life organizations are opposed to any multi-year reauthorization of PEPFAR that “does not incorporate” the Mexico City Policy.
I strongly supported PEPFAR when it was created in 2003 and was the prime sponsor of the reauthorization of PEPFAR in 2018. Regrettably, it has been reimagined—hijacked—by the Biden Administration to empower pro-abortion international non-governmental organizations, deviating from its life-affirming work.
It’s time we got back to the original noble goal—prevent this devastating disease, robustly treat and assist those who have been infected, and ultimately end HIV/AIDs around the world.”