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‘I know you’ve never faced those choices’ Psaki tells male reporter who asked why Biden backs abortion

Journalist questioned why president supports issue over ‘his own Catholic faith’

John Bowden
Washington DC
Thursday 02 September 2021 23:31 BST
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Jen Psaki spars with male reporter over abortion rights
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki has sparred with a male reporter over the question of Joe Biden’s support for abortion rights after the journalist brought up the president’s Catholic faith.

At the daily White House press briefing on Thursday Ms Psaki was confronted by questions from reporters about the Supreme Court’s decision this week to allow a highly controversial Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks and deputises state citizens with promises of $10,000 rewards for bringing lawsuits against any person, other than the patient herself, who takes part in helping someone obtain an abortion.

The court’s decision to allow the law to go into effect was savaged by Democrats and women’s health advocates over Wednesday and Thursday, and members of Congress on Capitol Hill as well as the White House have called for legislation that would enshrine abortion rights in federal law, though such a bill would likely be doomed in the 50-50 Senate.

On Thursday, one reporter questioned how the president, as a Roman Catholic, could support women making their own decisions about whether or not to have an abortion. Leaders of the Catholic Church including the Pope have expressed the church’s firm opposition to abortion, and have fought to keep the practice illegal around the world.

"Why does the president support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?" asked the reporter, who was not immediately identified.

"He believes that it's up to a woman to make those decisions, and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor. I know you've never faced those choices, nor have you ever been pregnant,” Ms Psaki responded to the man, before refusing to take further questions from him and moving on to another journalist.

Later in the briefing Ms Psaki characterised herself as a strong supporter of a woman’s right to an abortion and expressed particular praise for Planned Parenthood and other organisations working to defend and keep the services available around the US.

The Supreme Court’s move this week triggered a new wave of calls from progressives to expand or “stack” the Court and eliminate its conservative majority; the president has indicated his opposition to such a move, but earlier this year followed through on a campaign promise to establish a commission aimed at examining reforms to the judiciary system including expansions of the Supreme Court.

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