Biden Says Economic Empowerment Requires Abortion
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 13 (C-Fam) The Biden administration released a new strategy to promote global women’s economic empowerment, which directs the U.S. government to “expand equitable access” to “sexual and reproductive health care,” which is understood to include abortion.
Former president Donald Trump made international economic empowerment for women a high priority of his administration, and his daughter Ivanka spearheaded an initiative to support women’s entrepreneurship and access to financial opportunities around the world. This project was criticized by abortion activists because it focused solely on economic issues and not on other issues, such as health, where abortion groups might gain an entry point and source of government funding.
The Biden administration removed the White House website dedicated to the Trump-era Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative and is now promoting the government’s “first ever” strategy on women’s economic empowerment overseas. In contrast to the former initiative, it contains repeated references to “reproductive health” services including family planning, framing them as prerequisites for women’s economic participation.
The strategy also defines its intended beneficiaries as including “transgender women and girls” and directs the U.S. government to promote same-sex “marriage” overseas. “Those who wish to have their families recognized should be able to do so,” it says, arguing that legal recognition of same-sex unions as “bestows credibility, confers tangible benefits and rights, and supports full social inclusion.”
This new plan is intended to operate in concert with other government strategy documents, such as the USAID gender policy that will soon be released in its final form. Under President Trump, the policy was updated to remove references to ambiguous or euphemistic language that is used to promote abortion, and to clearly prioritize equality between men and women. The Biden administration moved quickly to replace it with a draft policy that promoted a nonbinary view of gender and other controversial elements.
Common to all the Biden administration’s strategy documents is an emphasis on using every issue, such as preventing violence or empowering women economically, as a vehicle to promote radical social change on issues like gender and abortion. These policies are then carried out in countries around the world by funneling U.S. funding to implementing organizations that share the Biden administration’s social agenda.
The U.S. recently launched an update to an initiative aimed at preventing and responding to gender-based violence in humanitarian settings, called “Safe from the Start Revisioned.” The earlier version of “Safe from the Start,” launched by the Democratic Obama administration, sent funding to several UN agencies as well as abortion-promoting organizations. The “revisioned” iteration prioritizes “consistent and targeted funding” to approaches that support “sexual and reproductive health programming.” Rather than focusing on ending impunity for violence and providing practical measures to keep women and girls safe, it calls for research into “addressing intersecting forms of oppression” including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and changing social norms.
Along with this revamped initiative, the Biden administration launched an updated strategy on addressing gender-based violence internationally, which directs the government to align its programs and policies with UN standards that explicitly refer to abortion as part of the minimum response to sexual violence in humanitarian settings. U.S. law continues to forbid the use of taxpayer funds to provide or promote abortion in foreign countries.