In a Tuesday Press Conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to guarantee that the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package, also known as the American Rescue Plan, will not force taxpayers to fund abortions.
Owen Jensen, a reporter with the Catholic outlet EWTN, told Psaki, “Regarding the American Rescue Plan, groups like pro-life groups including the Susan B. Anthony List are very concerned that millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars will go to the abortion industry in violation of the Hyde Amendment.”
“We know where President Biden stands on the Hyde Amendment,” Jensen continued. The Hyde Amendment blocks public federal funding going to abortions except in certain instances. Biden supported it for decades before promising to repeal it during his 2020 Democratic primary campaign.
“That being said, can this administration right now guarantee if the American Rescue Plan is passed that no taxpayer dollars will go to the abortion industry?” Jensen asked.
Psaki asked Jensen to specify which part of the plan he was referring to. “A $50 million funding increase for the Title X program…$750 million for global health activities and billions in funding for community health centers without applying the Hyde Amendment,” he responded.
“Well, the president’s view on the Hyde Amendment is well known as you have stated in your question. He also believes that community health centers are a key part of addressing the pandemic, of ensuring that people in communities have access to vaccines, have access to treatment and information about making sure they’re healthy and their loved ones are healthy,” Psaki said.
She emphasized again that Biden “has shared his view on the Hyde Amendment,” telling Jensen, “I don’t think I have anything new for you.”
But Jensen pressed for a clear answer. “Can he guarantee Americans who don’t want their tax dollars —pro-life Americans who don’t want their tax dollars funding abortion — can the administration guarantee those tax dollars won’t go to the abortion industry?” he asked again.
Psaki refused to answer. “Three-quarters of the public supports the components of the package, wants to see the pandemic get under control, wants to people put back to work, vaccines in arms. So I think that answers your question,” she said.
This is not the first time Psaki has avoided questions related to abortion. As a lifelong Catholic, Biden has flipped on the issue, now voicing support for abortion and willing to use taxpayer dollars to fund the procedures.
Just last month, Jensen asked Psaki about Biden’s plan on both the Hyde Amendment and the Mexico City Policy, which bans federal funding of foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions.
“Well, I think we’ll have more to say on the Mexico City Policy in the coming days,” Psaki replied, before adding “but I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he [Biden] 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,” she said.