US President Joe Biden issued an executive order establishing a new White House Gender Policy Council that will promote abortion and gender ideology in all government agencies. Abortion groups applauded the decision.
Biden’s gender council will cover an ambitious and broad set of topics, many of which provide an opportunity for abortion in their policy recommendations. Among them is his plan to coordinate a “comprehensive and interagency response to gender-based violence in the country and abroad,” which has been closely related to abortion both in the national and international context.
It also takes an expansive view of gender similar to that instituted under the Obama administration. During Obama’s tenure, the US Agency for International Development adopted an elaborate set of gender policies to simplify “gender mainstreaming” and “gender analysis” in the agency at all stages of the program cycle. USAID.
Because LGBT and reproductive health components are included in the general policies that guide gender analysis, USAID staff can create mandates on abortion, contraception, and LGBT issues for any organization that wishes to partner with USAID. . Without the protection of conscience, religious organizations can have a difficult time qualifying for grants.
Despite the council’s announcement on March 8, International Women’s Day, the executive order repeatedly mentions “fairness and equality,” where “fairness” is defined as the inclusion of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people ( LGBTQ +) ».
The executive order states that the administration’s policy is “to promote equal rights and opportunities, regardless of gender or gender identity” throughout the government and proposes to improve “the collection of data related to gender and gender identity. ».
This whole-of-government approach is reflected in the inclusion on the council of the heads of all agencies, including the departments of state, defense, and international development. It also aligns with Biden’s recent memo calling on agency heads to promote LGBTQ + rights around the world, a call that was enthusiastically accepted by Biden’s defense secretary.
One of the council’s co-chairs is Jennifer Klein, a longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton and a board member of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), who has been leading the campaign to establish a “feminist foreign policy” in the White House. Countries that have done so include Sweden, France and Canada, which use the term to promote abortion internationally.
Just a week after the council was created, its co-chairs Klein and former ambassador to Uruguay Julissa Reynosa have been announced as members of the United States delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). . Other delegates include Klein’s ICRW colleague and champion of “feminist foreign policy,” Lyric Thompson, and Lourdes Ashley Hunter, an activist and organizer described as a “non-binary, disabled, black transgender woman.”
In addition to establishing a gender council, Biden’s executive order ended the White House task force on the economic empowerment of women and girls that had been established by his predecessor, Donald Trump. The new gender council has been characterized as “a reformulation of the Obama administration’s White House Council for Women and Girls.”
Senate Democrats are calling on Biden to go even further to establish a White House office dedicated to “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Well-being.” The letter urges Biden to create a “permanent infrastructure” to build on his previous efforts to “ensure [e] reproductive rights, including the right to access contraception and abortion ”.