By Calvin Freiburger
Newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden is wasting no time erasing the legacy of predecessor Donald Trump, with aides confirming that he will have signed 15 executive orders by the end of Wednesday, with a reversal of Trump’s so-called “transgender troop ban” soon to follow.
Reuters reported that the orders will include a mandate that masks be worn on federal property, the creation of a new White House COVID-19 response office, rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, revoking the presidential permit for development of the Keystone XL pipeline, an end to Trump’s ban on travel from seven Middle Eastern countries, and a repeal of Trump’s emergency authorization of border wall construction funding.
“In the coming days and weeks we will be announcing additional executive actions that confront these challenges and deliver on the President-elect’s promises to the American people,” incoming Press Secretary Jen Psaki added, noting that those actions would include allowing gender-confused soldiers to serve openly in the military and rescindment of the Mexico City Policy, allowing foreign aid to directly fund abortion once again.
Finalized in 2018 in consultation with former defense secretary James Mattis and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the military ban disqualified from service “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” specifically those who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery,” except in “certain limited circumstances.”
Already serving members (who have been estimated to total anywhere from 1,320 to 6,630) were allowed to stay but would be treated as members of their biological sex rather than their “gender identity,” and held to the dress and grooming standards of the former. Current medical treatments would continue for current members already diagnosed with gender dysphoria, but new transition procedures would not be offered.
Liberals blasted the policy as “discrimination,” but Heritage Foundation defense expert and retired lieutenant general Tom Spoehr wrote in 2019 that “exhaustive Defense Department clinical and U.S. survey data confirms that individuals with gender dysphoria attempt suicide at rates between eight and 10 times the average” and “severe anxiety again at between eight and nine times the rate of individuals without” and that “there is no evidence that medical treatment, including gender-reassignment surgery, can remedy those challenges.”
Shortly after taking office in 2017, Trump’s Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy not only reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which bars the United States’ $8.8 billion in foreign aid from being distributed to entities that perform abortions, but took the additional step of expanding it to groups that promote or discuss abortion.
Bitterly opposed by Democrats, the action resulted in international abortion providers Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes losing millions because they refused to drop abortion in order to qualify for the money. Marie Stopes also had to close hundreds of operations across Africa. At the same time, reviews by the U.S. State Department found that most recipients have complied with the new rules without issue, leaving the administration of legitimate foreign aid unharmed.
Biden, who identifies as Catholic, ran on a thoroughly pro-abortion, pro-LGBT platform, yet so far his record of statements and actions has not impeded his relationship with Catholic leaders such as Pope Francis.