White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House February 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
(CNSNews.com) – When White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked at her briefing on Wednesday whether President Joe Biden agrees with Pope Francis that abortion is murder, she responded that Biden “believes in a woman’s right to choose.”
Biden is scheduled to meet with the pope at the Vatican on Friday.
The reporter first pointed out that the White House has said the pope and the president would be working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity and then asked Psaki whether that would include the human dignity of the unborn. Psaki countered that the reporter asked her “most often, if not every time, about abortion.”
The reporter asked if there was a problem with his question, to which Psaki replied: “There’s not. You can ask anything you want…”
When the reporter tried to ask a follow-up question, like so many reporters in the briefing room have been allowed to do, the press secretary shut him down, saying she needed to “move on” and tried to call on someone else, but the reporter shouted his question, asking, “The pope has said abortion is murder, and it’s like hiring a hitman. Does the president agree or disagree with that?”
“You know that the president believes in a woman’s right to choose. You’re very familiar with this issue. We’ve spoken about it many times,” Psaki said.
REPORTER: “As you know, millions of Catholics will be watching when the president and Pope Francis meet. The White House has said they will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity. Question 1: Will that include the human dignity of the unborn?”
PSAKI: “Well Owen, as you know – although you ask me most often if not every time about abortion – I will say there’s a great deal of agreement–“
REPORTER: “Is there a problem with my question?”
PSAKI: “Let me finish my answer. There’s a great deal of agreement– There’s not. You can ask anything you want, but what I wanted to note since you follow this closely is that there’s a great deal of agreement and overlap with the president and Pope Francis on a range of issues: poverty, combating the climate crisis, ending the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These are all hugely important, impactful issues that will be the centerpiece of what their discussion is when they meet. The president has met with him. This will be their fourth meeting. We expect a warm and constructive dialogue. You are familiar with where the president stands. He’s somebody who stands up for and believes that a woman’s right to choose is important.”
REPORTER: “Understood, and the pope has said–“
PSAKI: “The pope has spoken differently. I just outlined for you what the focus of the meeting will be. I’m going to have to move on. Alex, go ahead, Alex. Owen, I answered your question. Go ahead, Alex.”
REPORTER: “The pope has said abortion is murder, and it’s like hiring a hitman. Does the president agree or disagree with that?”
PSAKI: “You know that the president believes in a woman’s right to choose. You’re very familiar with this issue. We’ve spoken about it many times.”
REPORTER: “That’s not answering the question.”