White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki talks to reporters during the daily news conference

Watch Jen Psaki’s Barely Contained Fury as She Answers a Male Journalist’s Inane Abortion Question

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At Thursday’s White House briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki had to field a number of questions about Texas’ new six-week abortion ban. President Joe Biden had issued a statement Wednesday, following the Supreme Court’s failure to stop the ban from taking effect, and another statement Thursday, after they secretly voted in the dead of night to officially take no action to block it.

When it came to questions from conservative media outlets, they were predictably inane. And Psaki seemed to be barely containing her irritation at having to engage with them.

“Why does the president support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion as morally wrong?” asked one male reporter.

Psaki responded succinctly: “He believes that it’s a woman’s right. It’s a woman’s body, and it’s her choice.”

She tried to move on to the next question but the reporter continued: “Who does he believe, then, should look out for the unborn child?”

Psaki said during this same press briefing that she personally “strongly supports a woman’s right to choose,” but the responses available to her in this situation are limited by her role as a representative for the White House. She can’t lean too hard into science (by, say, reminding this reporter that at six weeks a fetus is basically still a collection of cells and calling them “unborn children” is misleading, manipulative, fear-based gibberish) because that risks alienating religious moderates like Biden himself. She can’t jump down from the podium and gouge her thumbs into his eyes because that’s “unprofessional.”

Still, the response she did give was great.

“He believes that it is up to a woman to make those decisions, and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor,” she said tersely before getting more disdainful: “I know you have never faced those choices, nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing. The president believes that right should be respected.”

The reporter tried to ask more follow-ups about the feelings of “pro-life” groups but Psaki moved on, telling him he’d already “had plenty of time today.”

In his statement Thursday, Biden called the Texas law “an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade.”

“By allowing a law to go into effect that empowers private citizens in Texas to sue health care providers, family members supporting a woman exercising her right to choose after six weeks, or even a friend who drives her to a hospital or clinic, it unleashes unconstitutional chaos and empowers self-anointed enforcers to have devastating impacts,” the statement reads. “Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women.”

When asked during this same press briefing, “What advice would the President give to a woman in Texas right now who wants or needs to get an abortion at this point?” here’s what Psaki had to say:

What the President would convey to any woman who is trying to get an abortion, seek an abortion, be able to employ her constitutional right to seek healthcare, and healthcare that is enshrined in and allowed by federal law—what he would convey to them? I don’t think he’s going to be giving medical advice, A; that’s not the role of any president, he would say.

But I would say he would convey to them: “I have asked my team to use every lever at their disposal to ensure you have this right, to ensure you have access, to ensure that you can have the ability to seek medical care in the way that every woman should have the right to across the country.” And he has made that a priority.

(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.