House passes one-year critical PEPFAR extension with strong protections for unborn children and their mothers
In a vote late last night, the House of Representatives passed (216-212) the State Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (HR 4665) that includes strong provisions to protect unborn children and their mothers and reverses President Biden’s hijacking of PEPFAR—the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief—to promote abortion.
“Regrettably, PEPFAR has been reimagined—hijacked—by the Biden Administration to empower pro-abortion international non-governmental organizations, deviating from its life-affirming work,” said Rep. Smith, Chair of the House Global Health Subcommittee, who was the prime sponsor of the reauthorization of PEPFAR in 2018.
“Thankfully, the House has voted to reject Biden’s new PEPFAR abortion promotion strategy and increase spending for its life-saving programs while ensuring key pro-life protections,” said Smith, who applauded 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.”
Smith said the bill included several provisions—including the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy—that would cut off large slush funds benefiting the international pro-abortion industry and redirect the money to programs that provide tangible humanitarian care and assistance.
“Immediately upon assuming office, President Biden repealed the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy—previously known as Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Policy—which ensured that PEPFAR’s over $6 billion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,” Smith said.
“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,” Smith continued.
“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,” Smith said.
Earlier this year, 131 African lawmakers and religious leaders urged Congress not to exploit PEPFAR to promote abortion: “…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.”
Additionally, leading pro-life organizations have cited their opposition to any multi-year reauthorization of PEPFAR that “does not incorporate” the Mexico City Policy.
In a 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.”
“This bill will help ensure that the foreign programs the United States funds tangibly assist those who need care and do not aid and abet the poisoning, starving or dismembering of unborn children to death,” Smith said.