HIV Groups Support Abortion while Promoting PEPFAR
Thursday, September 28, 2023

A debate over funding for PEPFAR— the President’s Emergency Program for Aids Relief which began in 2003—is underway in the House of Representatives with pro-life lawmakers supported by pro-life groups working to ensure that the funds are not used for the killing of unborn children by international NGOs who perform or promote abortion.

The debate takes place today, September 28, considered International Safe Abortion Day by UN entities, especially WHO, a member of UNAIDS. WHO states, “Abortion care is health care, and health is a human right.”

A number of pro-abortion groups, including those working in the HIV/AIDS area, have voiced their support for both abortion and PEPFAR. GNP+, the Global Network of People Living w/ HIV based in the Netherlands, tweeted a meme stating access to abortion is at the center of the reproductive health and overall well-being of women living with HIV. It wrote, “Prioritizing informed choice and quality abortion care is imperative to meet reproductive health needs and leave no one behind.”

Groups liking the tweet included HIV groups and a number of PEPFAR partners: UNAIDS, Global Fund for Women, Women4GlobalFund (W4GF), Population Council, ICW (International Community of Women Living with HIV), Aidsfonds International, Y+ Global (a network of young people living with and affected by HIV) and PYWV (Positive Young Women Voices).

The Global Network of People Living w/ HIV also led a statement to Congress— Renew PEPFAR, keep your promise to save lives—highlighting that PEPFAR has emphasized sustainability and strengthened healthcare systems in the countries it serves. The statement highlights the fact that PEPFAR has established healthcare infrastructure that can be used by pro-abortion NGOs to advance access to abortion.

Fòs Feminista, the International Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice, (formerly known as IPPF Western Hemisphere), is a member of another HIV coalition Global AIDS Policy Partnership calling for PEPFAR to be reauthorized as it leads the “Green Wave” to overturn laws against abortion in Latin American and the Caribbean.

Rep. Chris Smith, chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, explained pro-life concerns during debate on the House floor and thanked Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart and the Committee on Appropriations “for insisting that the noble purpose of PEPFAR not be compromised or undercut by integrating and merging other agendas—including and especially the promotion of abortion by massively funding pro-abortion foreign non-governmental organizations and instructing them to repeal pro-life laws and policies.”

Smith explained:

“Mr. Speaker, immediately upon assuming office, President Biden repealed the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy—previously known as Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Policy—which ensured that PEPFAR’s over $6 billion dollars a year in taxpayer grant money wasn’t subsidizing foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion on demand.

“The executive director of UNAIDS—a prime PEPFAR partner composed of WHO, United Nations Population Fund, UN Women and eight other UN agencies—welcomed Biden’s repeal of the pro-life policy saying it showed Biden’s commitment to “sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services.”

“Biden’s PEPFAR Core Program and Policy Priorities unambiguously states that it will continue: ‘Promoting and protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights, including through ongoing rescission of the Mexico City Policy’.

“Last year, leaving no doubt as to their global pro-abortion goals, the Biden Administration announced a sweeping radical new PEPFAR implementation strategy called Reimagining PEPFAR’s Strategic Direction that integrates sexual and reproductive health and rights—including abortion—with HIV/AIDs work.

“The idea of integrating the killing of unborn children by abortion with HIV/AIDs programs isn’t original. The World Health Organization, UN Population Fund, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and others, have all been aggressively pushing an identical integration strategy for years.

       “The PEPFAR 2023 Country and Regional Operational Plan Guidance for all PEPFAR-Supported Countries clearly states that PEPFAR “should work with organizations advocating for structural, systemic, and institutional reforms in law and policy regarding sexual, reproductive…rights.”

Leading pro-life groups in the U.S. sent their own letter raising concerns that “PEPFAR partners are using funding to erase current life-affirming laws and replacing them with abortion permissive laws and policies in African nations, where the cultural and religious views of these countries’ populations make them overwhelmingly committed to protecting life.”

The pro-life organizations are opposed to any multi-year reauthorization of PEPFAR that “does not incorporate” the Mexico City Policy.