Most of the media attention toward the bill has gone to the billions in aid to Ukraine and the impact the new flood of spending is likely to have on already-surging inflation. The abortion issues that have been reported so far have been favorable to pro-life advocates, as the package retains the Hyde amendment that prohibits direct federal funding of abortions.
Unfortunately, there are some little-discussed provisions that support the American abortion industry. Among those is a $200 million allocation for Biden’s Gender Equity & Equality Action Fund. The White House says that the fund is designed to “advance economic security for women and girls globally.” That mission predictably declares that security is impossible without expanded access to on-demand abortions.
The bill also reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act and the Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors (STOP) grants associated with the act. The Government Accountability Office reported last year that Planned Parenthood reaped in $200 million in STOP grants between 2016 through 2018.
The new spending bill supports Biden’s stated “whole-of-government” strategy to support abortion he promised while running for office. In his first week in the White House, he repealed the Mexico City Policy prohibiting American foreign aid from funding programs associated with providing abortions. He then created the White House Gender Policy Council that promotes abortion in the U.S. and internationally.
Last fall he reversed a Trump policy stopping abortion funding through the Title X family planning program. Two months ago, the Department of Health and Human Services announced $6.6 million in new Title X grants to entities it said are affected by pro-life state laws, including Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.
Biden still publicly supports federal legislation to enshrine abortion access in federal law to forbid states from restricting abortions with waiting periods, ultrasound requirements, and other health and safety provisions.
As often happens with massive and largely unread spending bills, the measure enacted this week will continue to turn up surprises that a majority of Americans would never support as stand-alone provisions.