WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — If President Donald Trump’s legal efforts to challenge his 2020 reelection results prove unsuccessful and Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States, pro-life advocates are finding no silver linings.
“Biden will be directed by hard-core, pro-abortion forces,” said Mark Harrington, executive director of the Ohio-based Created Equal, a nonsectarian pro-life organization.
He spoke with Catholic News Service a week after the 2020 presidential election between incumbent Republican Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Although Trump has not yet conceded the race and is filing legal action over potential voter fraud, multiple media outlets have projected Biden to be the winner.
While votes are still being counted, Biden has garnered 290 electoral votes while Trump has 217 electoral votes.
Harrington said he anticipates that under Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, the Department of Justice would screen all pending state legislation to make sure it conforms to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion on demand nationwide.
The Biden team also has vowed to repeal the long-standing Hyde Amendment, which outlaws federal tax dollars from directly funding abortion except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the woman would be endangered, he said.
They also “are going to attempt to codify Roe into federal statute in the event that Roe is overturned,” Harrington said.
“Biden has already said he will sign an executive order restoring funding for Planned Parenthood,” he added, noting that Biden, if he wins the presidency, will likely consider New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a “pro-abortion” Democrat, for the position of secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition, there is speculation of another possible Supreme Court seat becoming vacant in the next year — presumably leaving open a seat on the court for a Biden administration to fill. At 82, Justice Stephen Breyer is the oldest member of the court.
“We need to remain vigilant and not get discouraged,” Harrington said of pro-life battles. “We fought through the eight years of the Obama regime and we’ll fight through the Biden-Harris years.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and other senior GOP lawmakers are backing Trump’s refusal to concede the election. They include Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who reportedly has congratulated Biden on an “apparent victory” but added that Trump should be afforded the chance to challenge the results.
Trump said in a Nov. 7 statement: “Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor.”
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in several key states, including Pennsylvania, arguing there have been many irregularities in the process of counting votes and what votes are being counted.
“The American people are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots,” Trump’s statement said. “This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election. It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters.”
Tom McClusky, who is in charge of government affairs for the Washington-based March for Life organization, told CNS a Biden presidency would be a major setback for the pro-life movement, especially if state Medicaid restrictions for abortion funding are removed.
“It is also expected that Biden will surround himself with abortion activists looking for ways to use the federal government to push their extreme agenda,” McClusky said.
“Biden has vowed to rejoin international pro-abortion organizations like the World Health Organization and the United Nations Population Fund as well as resume the war on the Little Sisters of the Poor,” he added.
In July, the Little Sisters of the Poor won relief from the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with them in their nine years of litigation over the Obama-era contraceptive mandate.
The Obama administration required employers to provide cost-free coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations and emergency birth control in employee health plans under the Affordable Care Act. He provided “an exemption for houses of worship and an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious missions.”
In a 7-2 decision July 8, the court upheld regulations put in place by the Trump administration to allow employers, like the Little Sisters, more ability to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage in their health plans for moral and religious reasons.
In a statement the same day, Biden said he was disappointed with the ruling and that as president, he would “restore the Obama-Biden policy” providing “an exemption and accommodation” on the mandate.
The “accommodation,” allowing religious nonprofits to cover contraceptives through a third-party, is what the Little Sisters have been fighting since 2011, saying it still requires the order to be complicit in providing contraceptives in violation of church teaching.
Mary FioRito, the Cardinal Francis George fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, said the importance of 2020 election can be understood in reports that Planned Parenthood spent $45 million in funding to help elect Biden — a tripling of its election bankroll in the 2016 election.
Biden also would likely reverse the so-called “Mexico City policy,” which blocks U.S. funding of foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform and promote abortion as a form of family planning.
First announced by President Ronald Reagan during an international meeting in Mexico City, it has been upheld by Republican presidents since then and overturned by Democratic presidents.
“Biden’s position is vastly out of step with the American public, since the majority of Americans, even some who identify as ‘pro-choice,’ do not want their tax dollars used for programs that endorse abortion as a method of family planning,” said FioRito, an attorney, public speaker and commentator on issues involving women’s leadership in the church.
“In opposing the Mexico City policy, Biden is consistent with positions taken by previous Democratic administrations, including (Bill) Clinton and (Barack) Obama,” she told CNS.
Biden’s promises on the campaign trail and put forth in his “Early Executive Actions” list are out of step with the American sentiment on abortion — which is largely in favor of limits on abortion — and on funding it with federal tax dollars, FioRito added.
“Most dramatically, Biden has said he will make ‘Roe v. Wade the law of the land,’” she said. “Codifying Roe, and its companion case Doe v. Bolton, in federal law and making them ‘the law of the land’ is wildly out of step with the views of the majority of Americans, who would generally restrict abortion to the first trimester of pregnancy.”
Among Catholics, news agency AP VoteCast showed they were split between the two candidates, with 50% of Catholics backing Trump and 49% Biden; most of the support for Biden came from Latino Catholics, the second largest ethnic group in the church, who overwhelmingly cast votes for Biden.
Trump’s successful appointment of Catholic Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court also scored points with pro-lifers and U.S. Constitution originalists.
Biden, who would be the second Catholic president in U.S. history, has referenced his Catholic faith on a number of occasions and appealed to Catholic voters during the campaign by referencing Pope Francis. The first Catholic president was President John F. Kennedy, elected in 1960 and assassinated in 1963.
FioRio noted Biden claims to be guided and motivated by the Catholic Church’s social justice teachings but neglects to mention the church’s social justice doctrine has as its foundation respect for human life from conception to natural death.
“One cannot simultaneously support abortion on demand and be working within a Catholic social justice framework,” she said.