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Tipsheet

Karine Jean-Pierre's Answer on Biden's Policy Positions Is Still Less Than Helpful

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Monday's White House press briefing called to attention the grave concerns surrounding President Joe Biden's fitness to run for reelection. This includes positions the president has taken on major policy issues, including abortion. During the briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about comments Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley made during her Sunday night town hall with CNN.

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During that Sunday town hall, Haley was asked a question on whether she would sign a heartbeat bill into law as president and responded by pointing out Biden's support for abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. To applause from the audience, Haley called on the media to "ask Kamala and Biden if they would agree to 37 weeks, 38 weeks, 39 weeks," as she called out how "no one asked them that. No one asked them how late they're willing to go. What I'm saying is why go and put the American people through that? Why do that? Why not talk about what's the truth?"

A reporter then asked during Monday's briefing if Jean-Pierre could "give us the sort of correct position of the administration in terms of what kind, if any, kinds of restrictions on abortion the administration supports?"

Jean-Pierre has previously hidden behind the Hatch Act whenever asked questions about the 2024 election. Although she didn't claim such an excuse this time, that didn't mean the answer she gave was any more satisfactory. She offered she had not watched the town hall, and so "can't really speak to exactly what [Haley] said, though the press secretary did have a response on Biden's position, sort of. 

Biden, according to Jean-Pierre, "will continue to call on Congress to restore Roe v. Wade," adding "so if you know the particulars of Roe v. Wade, you see where the president stands, and I'll just leave it there for now."

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While attention has been on Haley's responses, it was host Jake Tapper of that CNN town hall who was woefully misinformed--and who thus then misinformed viewers--as he claimed Roe made abortion legal up until the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Ironically, Tapper had also said that "I'm a big believer in people in the media correcting themselves when they err," as he claimed he "erred earlier" in saying that Biden supported no restrictions on abortion. 

In reality, Roe, prohibited states from restricting abortion up until viability, which is presently at around 22-24 weeks, though that number has improved with medical technology, certainly since the 1973 decision was handed down. Further, its companion case of Doe v. Bolton allowed for abortions up until birth due to a purposefully vague "health" exception. 

But, what Biden and virtually all Democrats support would not just "restore" Roe, it would expand it. The legislation in question, the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA) would allow for abortion through all nine months throughout the country without legal limit. 

The Biden administration has misled on the issue before. This is not only how the legislation has been continuously referred to as one that would merely "codify" Roe, but with previous press conferences, including and especially those leading up to last year's midterm elections. 

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While the WHPA previously passed last Congress in the Democratically-controlled House, it could not even gain a majority in the Senate--also controlled by Democrats--let alone make it past a filibuster. Although Democrats gained one seat in the Senate last November, Republicans took back the House, where the WHPA thus has no chance of passing.

A press release from the Haley campaign on Monday highlighted her response. "Last night, Jake Tapper suggested that President Biden would support a federal ban on late-term abortion," she said. "That surprises me. I had never heard that before. It would be good news if true. President Biden should work with Republicans and Democrats to pass a ban on late-term abortion."

Speaking of her pro-life views, Haley added that her goal "has always been to save as many babies and help as many moms as possible. I believe Republicans and Democrats can find consensus on banning late-term abortion. If this is really Joe Biden’s position, it would be a very important step forward." This point echos similar remarks Haley made on abortion during an address at the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America headquarters in April. 

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In a statement for Townhall, Haley's National Press Secretary Ken Farnaso not only called Biden out, but the media as well. "Still waiting for an answer: Would Joe Biden sign a 20-week abortion ban? 24? 28? The media won't ask," he said.

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