Gay Protestors Invade, Occupy, Shut Down U.S. House Office

By | September 15, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 15 (C-Fam) A group of activists were arrested after invading and occupying Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s office on Monday.  Shutting down the work of the U.S. House of Representatives, they demanded McCarthy support the reauthorization of the U.S.’s international HIV/AIDS program without safeguards to prevent it from being used to support abortion groups.

The protesters were from Health GAP and Housing Works, an organization linked to ACT UP, an AIDS activist group known for its public demonstrations in the 1980s and 1990s, which often targeted Catholic churches and charities, interrupting Masses and even desecrating the Eucharist.

Inside the office, the protesters linked arms and shouted “Pass PEPFAR now, McCarthy!”  They were arrested on charges of unlawful entry after refusing to leave.

In a press release, Health GAP denounced the claims that PEPFAR funding was supporting abortion groups as “baseless lies” and a “smear campaign” against PEPFAR and President Joe Biden.

Since the earliest days of his administration, President Biden has sought to maximize funding to abortion-promoting groups, within the legal limitations of the Helms Amendment, which prohibits direct funding for overseas abortions.  He rescinded the Mexico City Policy which bans U.S. aid funding to groups that promote or provide abortion using other funding sources.  President Trump had reinstituted the policy and vastly expanded it. The Biden administration has inserted language on “reproductive health” into an expanding array of policy documents, including the U.S. government’s international clean water strategy.

Meanwhile, pro-abortion organizations, including some that benefit from PEPFAR funding, have taken to social media to declare their support for its reauthorization.  Among them was the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which supports legislation that would permanently rescind the Mexico City Policy and “protect women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care,” including abortion.

Another organization outspoken in support of PEPFAR reauthorization without abortion restrictions is amfAR, The Foundations for AIDS Research, which also advocates against abortion restrictions in U.S. foreign assistance and denounced the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Another abortion activist group expressing support for PEPFAR in recent days is Fòs Feminista.  In January, they expressed disappointment that the Biden Department of State hadn’t done more to update its PEPFAR guidance in light of the rescinded Mexico City Policy, in order to maximize the program’s ability to partner with abortion-promoting organizations.

In all, the loudest voices protesting that PEPFAR has nothing to do with abortion belong to those organizations and individuals who would be most supportive of PEPFAR being used to fund and promote abortion, as well as other controversial issues involving gender ideology, in countries ravaged by HIV/AIDS.

Housing Works, which employs six of the seven protesters arrested Monday, has also staged protests in favor of abortion, which it declares is “healthcare” and “a human right.”

Health GAP, whose executive director was the seventh person arrested, advocates for abortion in countries like Uganda, campaigned against the Mexico City Policy, and supported the integration of “reproductive health” more broadly into PEPFAR.  Actions by Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden to integrate family planning into PEPFAR contributed to the current dispute over pro-abortion family planning groups receiving PEPFAR funding.

Both Housing Works and Health GAP campaigned against the PEPFAR anti-prostitution pledge, which formerly required funding recipients not to advocate for legalized prostitution.

The protesters are unlikely to be jailed or face any penalties apart from possible fines, in contrast to those who entered the U.S. Capitol building during the protests on January 6, 2021.