CV NEWS FEED // Multiple groups and individuals who claim to be pro-life have signaled support for a full reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which the Biden administration has used to fund pro-abortion organizations.
“It is little surprising that the majority of groups that support the current version also receive money from the program, a clear conflict of interest,” observed CatholicVote Director of Governmental Affairs Tom McClusky. “PEPFAR was originally designed to save lives. It is sad that supporters would sacrifice lives just to keep a government program going.”
“Regrettably, PEPFAR has been reimagined—hijacked—by the Biden administration to empower pro-abortion international non-governmental organizations, deviating from its life-affirming work,” said pro-life Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ in late September.
That day, CatholicVote reported that the House narrowly voted to reauthorize the anti-AIDS program “for one more year, with an amendment preventing the use of its funding to promote abortions overseas.”
By contrast, Biden wanted to renew the full program without any amendments for five years.
Fred Lucas of The Daily Signal reported this week that some “Christian organizations such as the National Association of Evangelicals [NAE] and World Vision, as well as popular Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay Warren, signed onto a coalition letter in late October that was circulated by the George W. Bush Institute to urge Congress to fully fund” PEPFAR without any pro-life protections.
The October letter did not directly mention abortion but “strong[ly] adovocat[ed] for a clean reauthorization” of PEPFAR.
“Clean reauthorization” happens when Congress votes to renew a bill as-is, without any changes. Thus, a “clean reauthorization” of PEPFAR effectively means keeping the Biden administration’s retooling of the AIDS relief program as a vehicle to fund abortions.
Despite supporting this, NAE, World Vision, and Warren all claim to hold a “pro-life” stance.
The NAE for example wrote on its website that it “actively, ardently and unwaveringly opposes abortion on demand.”
Similarly, World Vision claims that it is “pro-life,” “believe[s] that life begins at conception,” and “does not provide, recommend or refer women for abortions or methods of birth control that are proven to be abortifacient.”
Warren, who is best known for his “Purpose Driven” book series, has also recently expressed pro-life views.
On June 24, 2022, the celebrity pastor and author took to X (known then as Twitter) to celebrate the Dobbs decision which overturned Roe v. Wade.
“Millions of unborn Americans say thank you!” he wrote, praising the Supreme Court’s majority.
Lucas noted that World Vision and the Warrens declined The Daily Signal’s request for a comment. NAE responded: “We assure the United States Congress that the claim that PEPFAR supports or promotes abortion is to us strange, unfounded, and unfortunate.”
Biden’s ‘Hijacking’ of PEPFAR Explained
The evidence clearly undermines NAE’s assertion that PEPFAR does not fund abortion.
Lucas explained that
Smith’s office documented that two dozen nonprofit organizations with PEPFAR authorizing explicitly advocated abortion. They include the Population Council, which got $1.2 million in 2021 and 2022 and lists “safe abortion” as a top priority, and Population Services International, which got $96.5 million in 2021 and 2022 and devotes a website page to reproductive choice with numerous references to abortion.
Lucas went on to cite several more examples:
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation got $278.6 million in PEPFAR authorizing, according to Smith’s office. The foundation has staunchly opposed the Mexico City policy preventing U.S. tax dollars from promoting abortion abroad.
Abt Associates, which got $113.1 million in PEPFAR authorizing in 2021 and 2022, issued a statement in June 2022 after the Supreme Court overturned its Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion.
Family Health International got $426.2 million in PEPFAR grants in 2021 and 2022.
“The Biden administration has sought to use PEPFAR to push a radical social agenda abroad, particularly with regard to funding abortion and promoting LGBT ideology,” Arielle Del Turco wrote in a September issue brief for the Family Research Council (FRC).
“This is a gross misuse of PEPFAR funds and resources and does not ultimately serve PEPFAR’s mission of ending HIV/AIDS,” Del Turco wrote:
Democrats have said there is no evidence that PEPFAR funds have gone to providing or promoting abortion. However, the Biden administration’s own guidance documents for PEPFAR include ample evidence that the administration intends to insert abortion into PEPFAR’s programming.
PEPFAR documents repeatedly use terms like “sexual and reproductive health” or “sexual and reproductive rights,” which are often euphemisms for abortion. According to the development news website Devex, one of PEPFAR’s six program areas includes “Prevention, which ranges from contraceptives to voluntary circumcision programs to reproductive health education.
“The Biden administration’s intention to expand PEPFAR into abortion and LGBT ideology,
regardless of (or even especially in opposition to) many recipient nations’ existing pro-life and profamily protections, could not be clearer,” she concluded. “Abortion and gender ideology do not cure any diseases and have no place in America’s fight against HIV/AIDS.”
Del Turco is the director of the FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty.
CatholicVote joined a coalition of pro-life groups in a September letter to then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy on the topic of PEPFAR. “We call on Congress to protect this program and make sure funding goes to ending HIV/AIDS, not promoting abortion,” the letter stated:
We are opposed to any multi-year reauthorization of PEPFAR that does not incorporate these protections for life. We are committed to preserving the authorities that are set to expire this year, especially the requirement that 10% of funds be expended for programs targeting orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS.
PEPFAR was created under the George W. Bush administration in 2003. It was last renewed unanimously by both houses of Congress in 2018. Smith sponsored the reauthorization.
However, this was well before the Biden administration changed the nature of the program to fund abortions and the LGBTQ movement overseas.