On behalf of Catholic news channel EWTN, White House correspondent Owen Jensen asked about the Biden administration’s plans to reverse the Trump administration’s radical policy change that cut millions of women off from Title X family services. Specifically, the Catholic news outlet’s correspondent was asking about Biden’s proposal to lift the “gag rule” that barred reproductive health providers who received federal funding by way of Title X from referring patients to doctors or clinics that provide abortions. Of course, this isn’t federal funding that goes into paying for or providing anyone with abortions. That money does disproportionately help lower-income communities and frequently marginalized women and families get access to better healthcare options.
Jensen, however, asked this: “Why does the Biden administration insist that pro-life Americans pay for abortions and violate their conscience?” Wild, right? Forget about the fact that even if this were the case—WHICH IT IS NOT—these asshats can get in line behind the tens of millions of Americans who don’t want to pay for an overblown military, an overblown law enforcement apparatus, and billions in corporate welfare. But I’m not the press secretary, in no small part because I would be bleeped so much it would be hard for news outlets to get a useable quote. Luckily, Jen Psaki is good at handling dunderheads in a more civil fashion.
“Well, first, that’s not an accurate depiction of what happens, and I know we want to be accurate around here, in programs where abortion is a method of family planning,” Psaki responded. She then went on to read the law’s language: “None of funds appropriated under this title should be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning. That is written into the public health service act and it specifically states that.”
Jensen attempts to argue that these funds are an “indirect subsidizing” of abortion services, even throwing in a truly bizarre “money is fungible, it can’t be traced, we know that” claim. It is probably the idiotic condescension Owens delivers this last part with that would end with me turning furniture over and getting kicked out of the administration. But Psaki, bless her heart, replies “That is not how it works, that is the law. So I’m stating what the law is and how it is implemented legally by these organizations.”
Psaki goes on to explain that the goal here is to create more equitable health services for Americans. The Trump-era gag rule hurt families of color more than it did anything to lower abortion rates in our country. Jensen’s only response was to try and ask the question a second time. But he led it off with this remark: “You talk about equity, if I may interrupt.” He didn’t interrupt anyone. At all. It’s almost like he’s bearing false witness for the print version of what he might write later. Like he’s attempting to create a conflict where there is no conflict. I wish these reporters were more faith-based, then they would surely act less morally reprehensible.
Owens goes on to try the old twisted logic that by offering more money for family planning healthcare services to people of color, this will somehow lead to more abortions in communities of color. Shhhh. Don’t say anything! Don’t think about it! The mushed-together words are the logic-free signifier of the forced-birther movement. “How is it fighting systemic racism when abortion, we all know, disproportionately affects minority children?”
So, his argument is that even though the law doesn’t allow for taxpayer money to go to abortion services in family planning, it somehow does. And in so doing, this thing that isn’t happening will lead to communities of color having more abortions because these communities want government subsidized abortions so they can have more abortions. (In an alternate world, press secretary Einenkel was chastised for holding up both middle fingers at a reporter today … )
Again, Psaki explained that there are laws and there are non-laws, and this is a law. The executive branch of our government is in charge of enforcing the laws … or executing those laws, as the language states. Owens tried once more to go into the BS fray, but Psaki was finished allowing him time to pretend he is a reporter and cut him off, saying, “I think I’ve answered your question.”