Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), head of the Senate pro-life caucus, stated on Friday that the budget request includes “billions of taxpayer dollars for Planned Parenthood.”
As part of the process of funding the federal government, Congress will next take up individual appropriations bills based off Biden’s budget request; pro-life groups have warned that funding of abortions and pro-abortion groups could significantly increase if the Hyde Amendment is not adopted as part of funding bills.
While Democrats control the House, they only have a tiebreaking vote in the 50-50 Senate through Vice President Kamala Harris.
Dannenfelser said recently that she is “confident” in Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), seen as a key swing vote, to oppose budget bills that fund abortions.
A budget could fund abortion providers in other ways without violating the Hyde Amendment. Biden has promised to increase funding for the Title X family planning program, for instance, while his administration is also working to repeal restrictions on funding of pro-abortion groups under the program. While Title X funds cannot pay directly for abortions, a Biden administration rule could enable funding of contraceptive services at abortion clinics – a move that pro-life groups warn would free up other resources at the clinics for abortions.
“The task is now up to Congress,” stated Planned Parenthood Action on Friday, adding that Congress should also repeal the “Weldon, & Helms Amendments” and “[p]ermanently repeal the global gag rule.”
The Helms Amendment, enacted as an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, forbids direct funding of abortions in U.S. foreign assistance. The “global gag rule,” as abortion advocates call it, is an executive action that restricts U.S. funding of foreign NGOs that promote or perform abortions as a method of family planning. It is also known as the Mexico City Policy, and President Biden repealed this rule in January.
Biden formerly supported the Hyde Amendment as a U.S. senator, even writing a constituent in 1994 stating his support for the policy. However, as a presidential candidate in 2019, he reversed his support for Hyde while under pressure from pro-abortion groups. He pledged to repeal the policy when campaigning for president in 2020.
Biden is just the second Catholic president in U.S. history. The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Archbishop Jose Gomez, noted the problem of Biden’s support for legal abortion in a statement upon Biden’s inauguration as president in January.
Noting that Biden “has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender,” Archbishop Gomez stated his wish that Biden would abandon such support and pursue the common good.
“Rather than impose further expansions of abortion and contraception, as he has promised, I am hopeful that the new President and his administration will work with the Church and others of good will,” Gomez stated.
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This article was updated May 28 with comments from Archbishop Naumann.