New White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dodged answering questions from the media about President Joe Biden’s abortion policy during her first press conference on Wednesday evening by invoking Biden’s professed religious beliefs and noting that he attended church before the inauguration.
Psaki made the remarks during the following interaction with Owen Jensen:
JENSEN: Yeah, hi. Congratulations on your new position. Owen Jensen with EWTN, Global Catholic Network. Two big concerns for pro-life Americans: the Hyde Amendment, which of course keeps tax payer dollars as you know for abortions, Medicaid abortions. And the Mexico City policy, which under the previous administration, expanded to keep tax dollars from overseas paying for abortions. So what does President Biden planning on doing on those two items right now?
PSAKI: Well, I think we’ll have more to say on the Mexico City policy in the coming days, but I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he is a devout Catholic and somebody who attends church regularly. He started his day attending church with his family this morning, but I don’t have anything more for you on that.
America Rising Executive Director Cassie Smedile responded by writing 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’…!”
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"…! pic.twitter.com/Tvy9qVvUnW
— Cassie Smedile (@CMSmedile) January 21, 2021
Abigail Marone, a communications adviser for Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), wrote: “CNN currently fawning over Biden for being ‘unapologetic about his faith.’ The man supports unlimited taxpayer funded abortions and promised to sue nuns, but ok.”
CNN currently fawning over Biden for being “unapologetic about his faith.”
The man supports unlimited taxpayer funded abortions and promised to sue nuns, but ok.
— Abigail Marone (@abigailmarone) January 21, 2021
Former Trump administration official Catherine O’Neill wrote on Twitter: “Friendly reminder that actual Devout Catholics are pro-life.”
Friendly reminder that actual Devout Catholics are pro-life https://t.co/9jBLojIT55
— Cath O’Neill (@cathponeill) January 21, 2021
Other commentators made similar remarks in response to the non-answer from Psaki.
In response to action Biden may take on the Hyde Amendment and Mexico City Policy (abortion funding) Psaki says he goes to church regularly and is a devout Catholic…So does that mean he will be more Pro Life than President Trump?
— PARIS (@PARISDENNARD) January 21, 2021
Excited for four years of "devout Catholic Joe Biden" takes that show exactly how well our media understands Catholicism and morality https://t.co/Q3yIqVAmlr
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) January 20, 2021
Devout Catholics aren’t pro-abortion. You’re welcome. https://t.co/SExOU85355
— kaitlin, holy RINO batman (@thefactualprep) January 21, 2021
“Biden described himself as ‘personally pro-life’ while nonetheless believing that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided and that women have a constitutional right to abortion,” The Daily Wire reported in 2019. Biden had supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds being directed to abortion, for decades. However, in 2019 he flipped on the issue.
Biden’s campaign website outlined his following stances on abortion:
- 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.