Early Wednesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre decided to face reporters solo for a press briefing, doing so for only the 14th time out of her 41 briefings since taking the top job. And, as part of this hapless endeavor, she faced questions from both the left and right on abortion with the Biden administration set to expand the funding for abortions s well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) visit to Taiwan.
Fox’s Peter Doocy used his time to press Jean-Pierre on the latter topic, starting with this quip that left Jean-Pierre chuckling about his word choice: “How come Republicans seem more jazzed about Speaker Pelosi’s trip than the President?”
“You’re going to have to ask Republicans. ‘Jazzed?’ Do they have jazz hands, Peter,” Jean-Pierre replied, adding in her attempt at some parental humor.
Doocy played a long for a few seconds before cutting back to the chase and whether the lack of public support for Pelosi visiting the island democracy boiled down to Biden being “worried about hurting” the “feelings” of Communist China dictator Xi Jinping (click “expand”):
DOOCY: Do I have jazz hands?
JEAN-PIERRE: [LAUGHTER] Do they have jazz hands?
DOOCY: Do they?
JEAN-PIERRE: You said “jazzed” — that they’re feeling “jazzed.”
DOOCY: We can have our Hill team check. [LAUGHTER] But Mitch McConnell said, “I think it’s important for the Speaker to go to Taiwan.” Lindsey Graham said the idea of her going “is a good thing.” Chuck Grassley, “I’m sure glad that she went.” Is President Biden just worried about hurting Xi’s feelings?
JEAN-PIERRE: I — so you’re saying, because they said that, then we’re not “jazzed”?
DOOCY: Yeah. Absolutely.
JEAN-PIERRE: [LAUGHTER] We’ve been very clear — we’ve been very clear for, gosh, the past week or so, that the Speaker has the right to go to Taiwan. We have said that.
Doocy kept pressing, wondering why it’s “so hard for the President just to say, ‘she’s a brave trailblazer, and I think it’s great that she went,’ like so many others” have, but Jean-Pierre followed John Kirby’s lead in sidestepping any attempt to praise Taiwan, insisting Biden views Pelosi in a broad sense as “a great trailblazer.”
On abortion, ABC’s Cecilia Vega came at Jean-Pierre for the left by fretting a new Biden executive order would merely “be directing the Health and Human Services Department to consider a number of actions” when there should be “urgency right now for women who need help” and for it to “actually kick in.”
In reality, what Vega meant by the use of the words of “urgency” and “help” was that women need to be able to commit murder on demand and out of convenience as, contrary to what liberals would want people to believe, pro-life laws across the country have exceptions to protect the life of the mother.
Jean-Pierre offered a lengthy answer touting the fact that “it paves the way for Medicaid” (as in U.S. tax dollars) “to pay for abortions for women having to travel out of state” and that the HHS Secretary “will invite states to apply for Medicaid waivers to allow them to provide reproductive healthcare to women who live in states where abortions are banned.”
After conceding Biden’s limited in what he can do, Vega continued to press as if the need to have broad abortion access was some emergency (click “expand”):
VEGA: But what is the timeline — specific timeline — on this EO? For women who need, want to have an abortion soon, will this help them get one? Are we talking about days? Are we talking about weeks? Are we talking about six months?
JEAN-PIERRE: So, that’s a great question. We don’t have the details to share today, but HHS will soon have more on what a waiver could look like in the timeline as you’re asking me and — which would generally target, again, low-income women served by Medicaid and help cover certain costs, so HHS — as you know, the President is going to sign the executive order. It says “to consider.” Secretary Becerra will then work with his team to figure out the details and the timeline.
VEGA: And one more question on this. How will you be able to pay to help women pay to cross a state line to get somewhere else where they need to go, given the restrictions of the Hyde Amendment?
JEAN-PIERRE: So, that is something that HHS will come up with the details on that and —
VEGA: Have they — but you’re about to sign an EO. Have they not figured that out?
JEAN-PIERRE: Well, we’re going to leave it to HHS to come up with the details on the specifics on how they’re going to work with states — if a state asks for a waiver — and what that’s going to look like. So, this is going to be in their purview. They’re going to come up with the specifics — again, with the details on how this is going to work. But again, this is what the President is doing to — he’s looking at everything that’s available to him on the table — whatever is legally possible, what he can use, his executive authority — to move forward on, and that’s what he’s doing.
CNN’s MJ Lee was in the same ballpark, asking why it’s taken six weeks for the Biden administration to propose subsidizing assistance for “patients who need to travel out of state — states — out of whatever state they’re living in now to get abortion services.”
Thankfully, EWTN’s Owen Jensen provided the view of pro-life Americans, noting they “don’t want their tax dollars paying for abortions” and the Biden administration is looking to do just that, so why is Biden not respecting the beliefs of fellow Catholics and his own Church.
Jean-Pierre refused to cede ground, insisting taxpayer funding for abortion is necessary in the event of protecting the life of the mother though “there are exceptions for moral…or religious objections to provide particular medical services” and “nothing…impacts those exceptions.”
Jensen wasn’t having it:
Catholic bishops say the administration is trying to force doctors and nurses to perform procedures that go against their religious beliefs, including gender transition surgery and abortion. Does the President believe in conscience rights and religious freedom for healthcare professionals?
Jean-Pierre doubled down, saying doctors are required to “provide women” with “emergency medical care, including abortion services, to” those “facing health and life-threatening conditions” though “there are exceptions for moral or religious objections.”
Along with the fact that the administration is absolutely pushing Catholic hospitals to violate their faith, someone should have hit back how, if that’s the case, then why was the Obama-Biden administration suing nuns to force them to fund contraceptives?
Jensen closed the briefing by invoking the Hyde Amendment: “[O]n the proposal to have Medicaid fund travel expenses for women seeking abortion, how would that not violate Hyde if it’s using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions?”
Not surprisingly, Jean-Pierre insisted their proposal would be legal because “we follow the law here.”
To see the relevant transcript from August 3’s briefing, click here.