Few days into his administration, the new President of the United States of America, Joe Biden overturned Trump’s transgender military ban. According to White House, “Transgender service members will no longer be subject to the possibility of discharge or separation on the basis of gender identity.” Data from Department of Defence indicates that there were 8,980 active duty transgender troops in 2019. The White House statement added that: “President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity.” Both Americans and their friends abroad are processing this differently.
With a Biden Presidency, reproductive health and abortion rights are top priorities. He is poised to reversing Trump’s perceived attacks on abortion rights. Trump’s “global gag rule” which restricted health organisations around the world from receiving U.S. support if they perform abortions or provide information about the procedure as a form of family planning, would be thrown to the trash bin.
Although a “Catholic,” Biden’s plan for healthcare would cover access to preventive care and contraceptives. It would ensure that “the public option will cover contraception and a woman’s constitutional right to choose.” He hopes to repeal the Hyde Amendment which has been in place since 1977. The amendment blocked public funding of abortion under Medicaid except for cases of incest and rape or if the pregnancy would endanger the mother’s life.
For instance, during an interview with CNN in 2006, Biden said: “I voted against partial birth abortion – to limit it – and I vote for no restrictions on a woman’s right to be able to have an abortion under Roe v. Wade.” Biden is determined to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation as he has recently done.
According to Keaton Browder, an Opinion Writer, “A Joe Biden presidency would eliminate the growth of the pro-life movement because he is no longer pro-life – if he ever was – and his running mate has shown that she does not see all human life as valuable.” The pro-life movement which staunchly believes that abortion is the murder of an unborn human flourished under the Trump administration. Incidentally, Trump was the first sitting U.S. President to attend the prominent annual Pro-life March for Life which was attended by thousands of people.
There, he delivered a powerful speech in support of “defending the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential.” The reader would recall that while Republicans lean towards pro-life movement, Democrats are known for their pro-choice stance. Browder surmised that: “A Biden presidency would be a disaster for the pro-life movement, not because of what Biden as president himself would do, but because of what those around him would do.”
Another crucial point in this discuss is President Biden’s Irish roots. In an interview with the Irish Times Newspaper in 2016, he revealed that: “I grew up in a household where my grandfather and grandmother Finnegan, all my mother’s brothers and my father told us about the courage and commitment it took for our relatives to emigrate from Ireland – in the midst of tragedy – to distant shores where they didn’t know what awaited them.” He added that: “Those values – their passion and principle, their faith and fortitude – shaped the way my siblings and I were raised.” He also credited his mother with instilling in him a sense of equality, and a belief that everyone “deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.” The question that readily comes to mind is – why has President Biden suddenly thrown his Pro-life pedigree by sticking with Pro-Choice which eliminates dignity and respect for the unborn?
There is no doubt that America’s 46th President comes across as a calm and calculated politician whose party pitches tent with liberty, civil rights and gender parity. However, by way of extrapolation, under his watch, China might romance the US with the intent of buying it over with communist’s policies so as to finally take over as world power. What is more, by repealing the travel ban on some countries, it is likely that some wolf in sheep clothing might take the US by surprise in the near future.
Comparatively, while President Trump was seen as a ruthless, no-nonsense man, Biden is loved for his calm demeanor. No doubt, Trump had his flaws. He appeared as one who is anti-establishment because of his unguarded utterances and seeming talking down on opposition plus Africans and Arabs. He was also a TV freak who enjoyed being seen as a celebrity or paparazzi. Besides, he did not handle the issue of COVID-19 well and that is what the Democrats used against him. The final straw that broke the Camel’s back was the violent attack of the United State’s Capitol against the 117th United States Congress on January 6, 2021 which led to the death of 4 Americans.
There are indications that since Biden hopes for an inclusive and all comer’s administration, investigations as to the origin of Coronavirus would be swept under the carpet. Will America enjoy economic prosperity under Biden? Well, time shall tell. Although he is the second Catholic President after John F. Kennedy, the Church’s hierarchy including many lay Catholics frown at his uncatholic policies. As far as the Catholic faith is concerned, Biden appears as a child whose parents are not proud of him because of delinquent behaviour. As the second Catholic to hold the highest office in the greatest democracy, the Church expects President Biden to do more than quoting Saint Augustine. Unless Biden transmutes his Pro-Choice mantra for Pro-Life policies, which is unlikely, his administration would suffer deficits in faith, morals, integral development and national security.
Fr. Dyikuk is a Lecturer of Mass Communication, University of Jos, Editor – Caritas Newspaper and Convener, Media Team Network Initiative (MTNI), Nigeria.