Biden Press Secretary Dodges Questions About Abortion

"abortion--ban-rally-1" (CC BY 2.0) by Seattle City Council

During her first press conference, new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dodged answering questions about Joe Biden’s abortion policy and instead invoked a far-fetched answer that Biden “attends church regularly.”

On Wednesday evening, the new Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked by the media about one sensitive question, President Joe Biden’s abortion policy. However, instead of providing an answer, Psaki avoided it and invoked Joe Biden’s religious beliefs instead, noting that Biden even attended church before the inauguration. 

Psaki made the remarks during her interaction with Owen Jensen of EWTN, Global Catholic Network.

Jensen started the question by raising the two significant concerns of pro-life Americans. First is the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision that allows the use of federal funds for Medicaid abortion. And Second, the Mexico City policy, which was supported and further developed under the Trump administration. Said policy blocks the U.S. federal funding for NGOs that provide abortion counseling or referrals, advocates to decriminalize abortion, or expand abortion services.

Jensen asked, “So what does President Biden planning on doing on those two items right now?”

Instead of answering the question, the Press Secretary spun out the question and avoided it by declaring instead President Biden is a “devout Catholic” and “somebody who attends church regularly.” Psaki continued and told the reporter that she “doesn’t have anything more for you on that.”

How Psaki dodged that question about abortion captured the attention of the media and former administration officials. 

Cassie Smedile, America Rising Executive Director, wrote on Twitter, “Jen Psaki spins out of Hyde Amdt. & Mexico City question by saying Pres. Biden is a ‘devout Catholic.’ Either Pres. Biden is about to be a very pro-Life President, or Jen Psaki (and basically everyone else) needs to stop referring to him as a ‘devout Catholic’…!

Abigail Marone, a communications adviser for Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), also took it on Twitter and posted, “CNN is currently fawning over Biden for being ‘unapologetic about his faith.’ The man supports unlimited taxpayer-funded abortions and promised to sue nuns, but ok.

Catherine O’Neil, a former Trump administration official, also posted a Tweet saying, “Friendly reminder that actual Devout Catholics are pro-life.”

Other commentators also made the same remarks in response to Psaki’s non-answer to the abortion question.

The Daily Wire reported last 2019 that Biden described himself as “personally pro-life.” Yet, he believes that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided and that women have a constitutional right to abortion. Biden had previously supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds for abortion except for Medicaid abortion. However, in 2019, Biden flipped on the issue. On Biden’s campaign website, his stance on abortion was outlined as follows:

  • Stop state laws violating Roe v. Wade. Biden will work to codify Roe v. Wade, and his Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate Roe v. Wade.
  • Restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The Obama-Biden Administration fought Republican attacks on funding for Planned Parenthood again and again. As President, Biden will reissue guidance specifying that states cannot refuse Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and other providers and reverse the Trump Administration’s rule preventing these organizations from obtaining Title X funds.
  • Just as the Obama-Biden Administration did, rescind the Mexico City Policy (also referred to as the global gag rule) that President Trump reinstated and expanded. This rule currently bars the U.S. federal government from supporting important global health efforts — including for malaria and HIV/AIDS — in developing countries simply because the organizations providing that aid also offer information on abortion services.