Under Biden, Would There be a US U-Turn at the UN?

Pro-life advocates at the United Nations warn that, as during previous Democratic administrations, a Biden presidency would work aggressively to advance the abortion lobby’s international goals.

What will a presumptive Biden administration bring to the United Nations?
What will a presumptive Biden administration bring to the United Nations? (photo: Unsplash)

NEW YORK — As the U.S. moves toward January, and the change from a Donald Trump presidency to a Joe Biden presidency seems ever more likely, many are wondering how this would affect United Nations policy.

According to experienced monitors of U.N. activities who spoke with the Register, the biggest change a Biden administration would bring to the U.N. will be a reversal of all the gains made under President Trump with regard to the fight against abortion. 

And because the U.S. is the largest single donor to the U.N. — giving roughly $10 billion, or one-fifth of the body’s collective budget — a change from pro-life to abortion advocacy has major repercussions.

“Trump was the most pro-life administration in recent years domestically and internationally,” said Elyssa Koren, director of U.N. advocacy for the Alliance Defending Freedom International. “This was reflected clearly at the U.N. The U.S. was constantly tackling language in documents which was not pro-life.”

“President Trump was pro-life in a granular way,” agreed Austin Ruse, president for the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam). “It wasn’t just on a few international policies. The Trump administration fought to take out bad language from U.N. documents every time. Trump didn’t get praised enough for this.” 

By contrast, a Biden administration would probably insert abortion-supportive language into every U.N. document that it can — just as the Obama administration did. 

“This would potentially erode pro-life laws in developing countries who need foreign aid from the U.N. and Western donor governments. U.N. aid has been heavily conditioned with demands to liberalize abortion, as was U.S. assistance under Democrat administrations,” said Koren.

When Trump entered office four years ago, the first thing he did was reinstate the Mexico City Policy — a U.S. policy that blocks federal funding for overseas abortion promotion or abortion services — and defund the U.N. Population Fund, known as UNFPA, because of the U.N. agency’s past cooperation with China’s coercive population program that has included forced abortion.

“Biden, on Day One, will refund UNFPA and strike down the Mexico City Policy,” predicted Ruse. “He will reinstate ‘reproductive health’ language (meaning abortion) everywhere. Biden will be the most radical, pro-abortion and pro-LGBT force at the U.N. He will be more radical than Obama because the Democratic Party is more radical [now].” 

By reinstating the Mexico City Policy, Trump was able to divert all the money that used to go toward groups promoting and performing abortions to legitimate global-health goals: HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, nutrition, infectious diseases, global health security and (legitimate) reproductive health, Koren pointed out.  

“Under Biden, all of that money will be siphoned off to promote abortion,” said Koren.


Planned Parenthood’s Euphoria

Planned Parenthood is euphoric about the possibility of a Biden-Harris administration at the U.N. 

“With the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, America chose leaders deeply committed to advancing and expanding reproductive rights — a choice with effects far beyond our borders,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, stated in a Nov. 23 press release. 

The press release headlined Biden’s nominations of Antony Blinken as secretary of state and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. as being Biden’s “Choices to Lead Fight for Reproductive Rights Across the Globe.”

Said McGill Johnson, “The Biden-Harris administration is positioned to end the reproductive rights abuses the outgoing Trump administration inflicted on countries around the world, and to protect and advance sexual and reproductive health care access for all people.” 

Planned Parenthood, whose international branch was designated in 1998 as a U.N. “apex NGO” by UNFPA in recognition of the abortion provider’s close collaboration with the U.N. agency in the promotion of “reproductive rights,” worked with 90 organizations in July 2019 to write up a “Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice.” This is a list of action items they expect Biden to enact within the first 90 days of taking office. 

The first action item states, “On day one, the president must issue an executive order unequivocally stating his commitment to protect and expand access to comprehensive reproductive health care, uphold sexual and reproductive rights, including abortion care, in the U.S. and around the world, and rescind or revoke prior executive actions limiting access to care.” 

More specifically, in terms of international actions, the abortion lobbyists demanded that the Mexico City Policy be immediately revoked and that the new president also “move to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including foreign assistance for abortion, to the maximum extent allowed.”

The abortion “blueprint” also stated, “Upon assuming office, the president must make a public statement that the U.S. will re-engage on a global scale to advance the health and rights of individuals worldwide, and take action to re-engage fully with the United Nations, including re-joining and re-funding the World Health Organization, and re-funding the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency.”


Religious Freedom 

While the Trump administration worked very hard to fight for the rights of persecuted Christians around the world, there is no indication that this is a priority for Biden.

“This will only be a priority if Catholic supporters of Biden voice their concern. Trump kept his focus on persecuted Christians because of the people around him,” said a Vatican observer at the U.N., who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Trump was a leading voice on religious freedom and the persecution of Christians,” said Koren. “This is an American value. There is a sense that it won’t get the same emphasis under Biden.”


Geneva Consensus Declaration 

On Oct. 22, 2020, 32 nations signed an international declaration stating, “There is no international right to an abortion.” The Geneva Consensus Declaration stated that there was no “international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion.” The document also called the family the “natural and fundamental group unit of society.” 

With the U.S. as one of the leaders, this was the first time that nations had gotten together formally in this way to stand up for the right to life and to reject efforts to falsely claim that access to abortion is a recognized international “reproductive right.” 

“The U.S., which led the formation of the historic Geneva Consensus Declaration coalition of 32 countries committed to protecting life and family in U.N. policies, will now withdraw from and oppose it, instead of leading it, substantially weakening the coalition,” said Sharon Slater, president of Family Watch International, a pro-life and pro-family NGO at the U.N.

According to Slater, hundreds of millions of dollars of funding to the WHO will be restored. The WHO has been a longtime promoter of abortion around the world.

“The good pro-life Trump appointees will be fired and replaced with strong abortion advocates,” said Slater. “Abortion organizations like IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation) and Marie Stopes will once again be eligible for U.S. funding, with $6-$9 billion at stake.”

The U.S. is also likely to start pushing for comprehensive sexual education of children again — often without the knowledge or consent of parents — at the international level.

Pro-life and pro-family advocates at the U.N. insist that Biden should opt for a more balanced U.S. policy, one that conforms with the actual requirements of international agreements regarding abortion.

“A Biden administration should hold the U.N. accountable to a neutral position on abortion out of respect for the laws of other countries. We know what the Democratic Party position is, but if the U.S. pushes for what is illegal, or restricted, in other countries, this directly violates national sovereignty. For this reason, the U.S., regardless of what party is in the White House, should encourage the U.N. to stay silent on this issue,” said Koren.


More Engagement

Under Trump, the U.S. was considered very combative at the U.N. While the U.S. delegation was very engaged at the U.N. headquarters in shaping documents to conform with the administration’s priorities, it left organizations like the Human Rights Council and the WHO over disagreements.

Under Biden, it is believed that the U.S. will be fully engaged in all U.N. agencies again, with the intention of promoting abortion in every area possible.

Some observers within the Catholic community believe that constructive measures still can be accomplished by working with member nations through these U.N. agencies and councils, with a strong pro-life engagement across the board and defunding where necessary.

When asked if a complete reversal at the U.N. on abortion policy would be depressing after four years of gains, pro-life observers accept that such a change will be a call to work harder.

“There is no finer time to be a faithful Catholic,” said Ruse. “What a remarkable thing that God has called upon us to live in these times. We have to remember to be happy warriors.”

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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