Biden Establishes White House Gender Policy Council
WASHINGTON, D.C. March 19 (C-Fam) U.S. President Joe Biden has issued an executive order establishing a new White House Gender Policy Council that will promote abortion and gender ideology throughout all government agencies. Abortion groups applauded the decision.
The Biden gender council will cover an ambitious—and expansive—set of issues, many of which provide an opening for abortion in its policy recommendations. Among these is its plan to coordinate a “comprehensive, interagency response to gender-based violence at home and abroad,” which has become closely linked with abortion in both the domestic and international context.
It also takes an expansive view of gender similar to what was instituted under the Obama administration. During Obama’s tenure an elaborate suite of gender policies was adopted by the US Agency for International Development to streamline “gender integration” and “gender analysis” at the agency at all stages of the USAID program cycle.
Because reproductive health and LGBT components are included in the overarching policies that guide gender analysis, USAID staff can create mandates on the subject of abortion, contraception, and LGBT issues for any organization wishing to partner with USAID. Without conscience protection faith-based organizations may find it difficult to qualify for grants.
Despite the announcement of the council on March 8, International Women’s Day, the executive order repeatedly mentions “equity and equality,” where “equity” is defined as including “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons.”
The executive order states that the administration’s policy is to “advance equal rights and opportunities, regardless of gender or gender identity” throughout the entire government and proposes to improve “the collection of data related to gender and gender identity.”
This whole-of-government approach is reflected in the council’s inclusion of the heads of all agencies, including the departments of state, defense, and international development. It also aligns with Biden’s recent memorandum calling on agency heads to advance LGBTQ+ rights around the world—a call which was enthusiastically taken up by Biden’s defense secretary.
One of the council’s co-chairwomen is Jennifer Klein, a longtime advisor to Hillary Clinton and board memberof the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), which has been leading the campaign to establish a “feminist foreign policy” at the White House. Countries that have done so include Sweden, France, and Canada, which use the term to promote abortion internationally.
Just a week after the council’s creation, its co-chairs Klein and former ambassador to Uruguay Julissa Reynosa have been announced as members of the U.S. delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN. Other delegates include Klein’s ICRW colleague and “feminist foreign policy” champion Lyric Thompson and Lourdes Ashley Hunter, an activist and organizer described as a “Black, disabled, non-binary transgender woman.”
Besides setting up a gender council, Biden’s executive order terminated the White House working group on women’s and girls’ economic empowerment that had been established by his predecessor, Donald Trump. The new gender council has been characterized as “a reformulation of the Obama administration’s White House Council on Women and Girls.”
Senate Democrats are calling on Biden to go even further to establish a White House office dedicated to “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Wellbeing.” The letter urges Biden to create a “permanent infrastructure” to build upon his prior efforts to “secur[e] reproductive rights—including the right to access contraception and abortion.”