White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki wasn’t having a male, conservative journalist’s attempt to debate abortion in the wake of a devastating attack on women’s rights.
“Why does the president support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?” the reporter asked at the White House Press Briefing today.
Psaki gave him a straightforward answer at first: “He believes that it’s a woman’s right, it’s a woman’s body, and it’s her choice.”
“But who does he believe, then, should look out for the unborn child?” the reporter pressed as Psaki was trying to call on another journalist.
And, at that moment, she was done with him.
“He believes that it’s up to a woman to make those decisions, and to make those decisions with her doctor,” Psaki said. “I know you’ve never faced those choices, nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing.”
“The president believes that right should be respected,” she said before moving on to another reporter, but the same male reporter tried to continue to have a debate on abortion.
“I think we have to move on, you’ve had plenty of time today,” she scolded him.
Psaki: I know you’ve never faced those choices nor have you ever been pregnant but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing pic.twitter.com/uelIXzjFvT
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 2, 2021
At that point in the press briefing, Psaki had already taken several questions about the Supreme Court’s refusal to issue an injunction to stop Texas’s blatantly unconstitutional ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy from going into effect. The other questions she took were more technical and appeared to be genuine questions and not attempts to start a debate.
In May, the state of Texas passed a near-total ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, well before fetal viability, the line established by the Supreme Court in several landmark decisions last century. The vast majority of abortions occur after the sixth week of pregnancy and many people don’t even know that they’re pregnant that early.
The law, S.B. 8, allows anyone in the state (besides state officials) to sue anyone they think aided in the procurement of an abortion for a bounty of $10,000. The law was written this way to evade litigation by creating a technical, legal question to answer: who can be sued to overturn this law? Usually, the state official in charge of enforcing a law gets sued by those challenging it, but all private citizens of a state can’t be sued.
A five-judge majority on the Supreme Court fell for Texas’s trap – the three liberal justices and Justice John Roberts dissented – and said that that technical question of who can be sued means they can’t issue an injunction and the law went into effect yesterday, even though it violates clear Supreme Court precedent protecting the right to an abortion before fetal viability. Abortion clinics in Texas have already stopped performing abortions after the sixth week.
Psaki said yesterday that the law is “extreme” and that Biden wants Congress to protect Roe v. Wade, since the Supreme Court doesn’t seem interested in defending that decision anymore.