White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has become a sensation in liberal circles, and for good reason. Her no-nonsense attitude and the professional yet decisive manner she fields gotcha questions from a White House press corps hungry for viral soundbites stands out as a stark contrast to the simpering falsehoods and frustrated aggression from Trump’s many press secretaries.
Psaki demonstrated that prowess once again on Wednesday in response to a bad-faith reporter attempting to spread the tired and easily debunked lie that Title X funds are being used to pay for abortions.
“So today, as you well know, the Biden administration and HHS started the reversal of the Trump administration’s ban on abortion referrals at Title 10 family planning clinics. So my first question, why does the Biden administration insist that pro-life Americans pay for abortions and violate their conscience?” demanded a reporter who appears to be Owen Jensen from the Eternal Word Television Network, a news channel entirely devoted to Catholicism and Catholic issues.
Press Secretary Psaki calmly set the record straight: “Well, first, that’s not an accurate depiction of what happens, and I know we want to be accurate around here, none of the funds appropriated by this program shall be used where abortion is used as a method of family planning. That is written into the Public Health Service Act and it specifically states that.”
Jensen rudely counters by arguing about “indirect subsidies, minus fungible, that can’t be traced, we know that, come on!”
Unfazed, Psaki told him “that is not how it works that is the law, so i am stating what the law is and how it is implemented by these organizations. And the reason, since you gave me the opportunity, the reason why the president took these steps is because he believes that advancing equity for all including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty, inequality can be helped by these actions and by focusing on advancing equity in the Title 10 program we can create opportunity for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits everyone. That’s how these programs work.”
Unwilling to let it go, Jensen parroted a far-right-wing talking point and complained that “you talk about equity, if I may interrupt, how is it equity, how is it fighting systemic racism, when we all know abortion disproportionately affects minority children?”
Psaki cooly replied “Again. Funding cannot be used from this for abortion, but access to healthcare, access to healthcare in communities and communities that have been marginalized, underserved, adversely affected by persistent poverty is something the president will always fight for.” When Jensen tried to protest, she shut him down with “I think I’ve answered your question!”
Jen Psaki masterfully handles a factually inaccurate, loaded question about abortion pic.twitter.com/4DG9OcrqE2
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 14, 2021
Why Catholics and pro-life Americans think they’re so important they deserve to get unique consideration for how their tax money is spent while the rest of us have to suck it up is a mystery. It is personally against my conscience to spend my tax dollars on droning weddings in Yemen or paying for Don Jr.’s golf carts but you don’t see me getting any special consideration!
The hypocrisy between the obsession of pro-lifers about ensuring not a single cent goes to abortion funds but then cheering on a gargantuan military budget that kills thousands of innocent people every year is beyond anyone’s understanding.
Kudos to Secretary Psaki for not letting Jensen get away with pushing his false narrative.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.