MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 26th of January, 2021.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: pro-abortion policies.
Advocates for the unborn have hailed the Trump administration as the most pro-life in history. They expect the next four years to be quite different.
WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: When former President Donald Trump took office four years ago, pro-life advocates weren’t sure what to expect.
Mallory Quigley is with the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life adovcacy group.
QUIGLEY: We did not know much about his position, how he would govern. What we knew we were wary of.
So pro-life advocates asked Trump to commit to protecting preborn babies. He agreed.
QUIGLEY: He committed as a candidate to protecting the Hyde Amendment, which stopped taxpayer funding of abortion, to advancing the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, to appointing only pro-life Supreme Court justices, and to defunding Planned Parenthood.
Quigley says Trump did everything within his power to tick off that list and more. Like becoming the first sitting president to attend the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C.
QUIGLEY: When you take a look back at what the Trump-Pence administration has accomplished, you see that over the last four years, they really have set the standard for future pro-life administrations.
The standards for the new administration are very different. Pro-abortion advocates expect the Biden-Harris administration to undo nearly every one of the pro-life policies from the last four years, starting with the Mexico City Policy.
Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan have used the Mexico City Policy to bar foreign family planning organizations from using U.S. aid to finance abortions. By repealing it, President Biden will clear the way for American tax dollars to pay for abortions in other countries.
Then there’s the Title X program. It gives grants to clinics that serve low-income and uninsured patients. In 2019, the Trump administration said clinics in the program can’t refer patients to abortion businesses or perform abortions. A thousand clinics, including many operated by Planned Parenthood, left the program.
President Biden is expected to repeal that rule as well.
Carol Tobias is president of the National Right to Life Committee. She expects the Biden administration will also make changes in federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration. Its regulations currently restrict who can get chemical abortion pills.
TOBIAS: The FDA does have limits on the abortion chemical pill, how late into the pregnancy it can be used, whether or not you have to see a doctor before you can get the prescription for that pill.
Tobias expects officials to relax those requirements. She also predicts Biden’s FDA will relax regulations around using tissue from aborted babies for research.
TOBIAS: The Trump administration was very firm that U.S. tax dollars were not going to be used to fund fetal tissue research. I fully expect the Biden administration to change that as well.
Pro-life advocates also predict President Biden will roll back Trump-era protections for employers who don’t want to provide birth control for employees.
And he has vowed to support Democratic congressional efforts to overturn the Hyde Amendment. It keeps federal dollars from paying for abortions.
Carol Tobias says that’s a big shift for the new president.
TOBIAS: For many years, we had Democrats in Congress who would support legal abortion, but they were willing to say tax dollars shouldn’t pay for it. I would have put Joe Biden in that category. Well, when he started running for president, of course, he changed that position.
But while pro-life advocates are discouraged by the changes in policy, they take comfort in a few bright spots. Mallory Quigley at the Susan B. Anthony List notes the Trump administration leaves behind lasting change at the federal courts.
QUIGLEY: The nomination and confirmation of three prolife Supreme Court justices, more than 200 judges to the lower courts, really has transformed the judicial branch in a very positive, exciting way.
And Carol Tobias says pro-life states won’t stop pushing legislation that protects the unborn.
TOBIAS: There will be bills dealing with abortion pill reversal, protecting babies who have developed to the point where they can feel pain, protecting babies from being killed through a dismemberment abortion, heartbeat bills, requiring that a woman be given an opportunity to see an ultrasound of her unborn child before she gets the abortion.
And pro-life advocates say the culture is changing too. Susan Pierce operates Silent Voices, a pregnancy counseling center in Southern California. She points out the number of abortions in the United States keeps dropping.
PIERCE: I think that the pro life movement is growing and will continue to grow. Despite the Biden administration. They can’t force people to have an abortion that don’t want them.
And while pro-life political action is important, no matter who sits in the Oval Office, the work of loving mothers, fathers, and babies is ultimately what will make the difference.
PIERCE: But my focus and the focus that you can take is, there are women out in your community who are pregnant, and not sure what to do. And they’re scared and they feel alone and isolated. And you can come alongside that woman and help her make a choice for life.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.