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Tipsheet

KJP Confronted About Biden's Stance on Abortion Up Until Birth

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden, as Spencer covered, communicated his priority to the American people come this next Congress, and that's to be signing the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA). Unless there was any question as to whether Biden supports abortion up until birth, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during Tuesday's press briefing was unable to name any limits the president did support. 

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RealClearNews' Phil Wegmann got into it with Jean-Pierre as he tried multiple times to ask about the scope of the WHPA, also accurately raising the issue that it would go beyond codifying Roe v. Wade, and would actually expand it. Another concern is that the bill will invalidate pro-life laws passed at the state level. 

Wegmann had specifically asked "would that bill simply codify Roe? Or would it go farther and overturn individual state abortion restrictions?" He also asked "are there any abortion restrictions at all that the president would support?"

Jean-Pierre stuck to the White House's script, which did not actually answer the question. "What the president is going to do and wants to do and believes in doing is codifying Roe. He believes that is what — it was the — the law of the land, a constitutional right for almost 50 years. And it’s — he believes in — its specific provisions was rightly decided.  He has said this regularly, including right after Dobbs.  And that has not changed," she said. 

Wegmann and the press secretary got into it as he charged "that didn’t answer either question" and had to educate her on state pro-life laws, pointing out "there are individual state restrictions on abortion in the — on the books currently around the country," and that "some of those existed before the Dobbs case, before the overturn of Roe."

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Yet Jean-Pierre still insisted "I just answered that question." Granted, she hasn't had the best track record of properly answering questions. 

Wegmann sought again to get out of Jean-Pierre as to if Biden supports any abortion restrictions. "He — again, he believes in the provisions that Roe had. And that’s where he stands. I would suggest you reading it so you get a sense of what the president stands and what he wants to see," she responded before Wegmann moved on. 

For Jean-Pierre to tell someone else to read something shows some gall, as his questions were to clarify any confusion caused about how far the WHPA. Under the strict confines of Roe, states were severely restricted in passing pro-life laws, though some laws were still allowed to remain on the books. The WHPA indeed goes further in that it invalidates state pro-life laws. It also allows for taxpayer funded abortions.  

It's also worth reminding that Biden once supported states being able to overturn Roe v. Wade. He left this point out of his Tuesday remarks, though, despite mentioning "on January 22nd, 1973 — I hate to admit this, but I was a freshman — a 30-year-old freshman United States senator, and the Supreme Court issued its opinion on Roe v. Wade, establishing a fundamental constitutional right to choose."

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The exchange is particularly illuminating given that during that same press briefing, as Leah highlighted, Jean-Pierre got into it with Fox News' Peter Doocy about the president's priorities being inflation or abortion. The press secretary struggled to sufficiently answer that question as well. 

Polling shows that inflation is top of mind for voters, that Biden has poor marks on the issue, and that Republicans have a strong advantage on who voters trust on the issue.

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