While the program was set up in 1970 with express prohibitions against funding of abortion as a method of family planning, the Clinton administration required recipients to provide abortion referrals and counseling upon request.
That 2000 policy stood in place until the Trump administration in 2019 prohibited recipients from referring for abortions or being co-located with abortion clinics, in an attempt to separate taxpayer funding from abortion-related services altogether. Planned Parenthood in 2019 announced it was withdrawing from the program rather than complying with the new requirements.
The Department of Health and Human Services in April proposed to restore the Clinton-era rules for the program, once again allowing abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood to participate.
Biden’s administration has also lifted a moratorium on federally-funded research using fetal tissue derived from elective abortions. The Trump administration in 2019 halted such research at federal facilities, and required other federally-funded research proposals at non-government facilities to undergo review by a federal ethics advisory board. In April, HHS lifted the moratorium and removed the requirement for review by the ethics advisory board.
Meanwhile, Biden has expressed support for LGBT and transgender issues, and his administration has worked to require accommodation for these causes – despite religious or conscientious objections.
On his first day in office on January 20, Biden issued a sweeping executive order redefining sex discrimination. He stated his administration’s policy to uphold sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under federal civil rights law, extending to them the same protections as race in public accommodations.
“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” Biden stated.
Biden’s administration began implementing the order in a number of areas, including housing, education, and health care.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has said that male students identifying as transgender females have a right to compete in women’s athletics based on their gender identity.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has weakened protections for women’s shelters, withdrawing a proposed rule that would have allowed them to accept only women clients instead of biological males identifying as transgender females. A Missouri Christian college also sued the administration over its interpretation of sex discrimination, saying that their policy of sex-specific dormitory housing would be at risk.
In May, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a notice that legal experts warned would require doctors and hospitals to provide gender-transition procedures.
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A coalition of Catholic doctors and hospitals had already sued the government over the Obama administration’s 2016 transgender mandate. While a federal district court granted some plaintiffs permanent injunctive relief from the mandate, the Biden administration fought to appeal that case to a higher court.
In foreign policy, U.S. embassies have also been permitted to display the LGBT Pride flag during “Pride season.”
Biden also supports the Equality Act, sweeping legislation that would require acknowledgment of sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops warned that the bill would “punish” objecting religious groups, and could require church halls to host pro-LGBT events, or women’s locker rooms and shelters to accept biological males.
“The big picture is that America seems only capable of electing Gallicans, Catholic presidents who don’t actually believe they should follow the Church’s teaching but should just follow their own national preferences,” Pecknold said.
“And president Biden has proved himself to be someone who not only doesn’t agree with Church teaching,” he said, “but advances and promotes” policies that contradict Church teaching.
“And he does it in an obstinate refusal of any correction from any bishop, including the pope,” he said.