The new White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, has avoided directly commenting on the Biden administration’s stance on abortion.
She dodged questions put to her about the issue by a journalist at the administration’s first press briefing, held on Wednesday.
A reporter from EWTN, a catholic broadcaster, had asked Psaki what the new administration planned to do about two abortion-related policies—the Hyde Amendment, which makes tax dollars available for funding abortions under the Medicaid program; and the Mexico City policy, which was expanded under President Trump to keep tax dollars from funding abortions overseas.
Psaki replied that the Biden administration would disclose its position on the Mexico City policy “in the coming days”.
She then proceeded to ‘assure’ the public that President Biden was “a devout catholic”.
“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,” Psaki said.
“He started his day attending church with his family this morning, but I don’t have anything more for you on that.”
In the past, Biden had described himself as “personally pro-life”, but also expressed support for the outcome of Roe v Wade, which allows pregnant women to have an abortion without being hindered by the government.
However, he has recently come out in full support of abortions.
The Biden Campaign website states that, if elected, Biden would stop states from preventing women’s access to abortion services as allowed by Roe v Wade, and restore Federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization which, among other things, offers abortion services to pregnant women in the United States.
The website also says that a Biden administration would “rescind the Mexico City policy”—effectively allowing for organizations sponsored by the program to provide abortion information in other countries.
Critics have criticized Psaki’s reference to Biden’s Catholicism, pointing out that the Catholic Church’s teaching, as well as most devout Catholics, were anti-abortion.
Obianuju Ekeocha, a pro-life activist, has also noted that Kamala Harris, Vice President in the new administration, has a track record of supporting abortions—including ones carried out on fetuses that can already feel pain.
The shiny new Vice President of the United States of America has a horrifying record on abortion. An inhumane and barbaric position.
At 20 weeks a baby is moving, kicking, sucking the thumb and can feel pain.
God save America. https://t.co/ZBZSXFD16Q
— Obianuju Ekeocha (@obianuju) January 21, 2021
“The shiny new Vice President of the United States of America has a horrifying record on abortion,” she said in a tweet. “An inhumane and barbaric position.”