Published June 23, 2021
During a White House press briefing earlier this week, a reporter asked Joe Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki a most verboten question: Does President Biden believe “that a 15-week-old unborn baby is a human being?”
Psaki, who is skilled at nothing if not the art of the dizzying pivot, responded, “Are you asking me if the president supports a woman’s right to choose? He does.”
The reporter was not, of course, asking Psaki if Biden supports the “right to choose.” She asked something entirely different, a very clear question: Does the president subscribe to the belief that an unborn child — or, if one prefers, a fetus — is a human being, at least at some stage of pre-birth development? Put another way: Is the president willing to acknowledge a basic fact of biology, or does his ideology preclude him from doing so?
That Psaki immediately reverted to euphemistic rights language is quite revealing. For the proponent of legal abortion, investigations of the humanity of the unborn child — rare though such queries might be — necessarily trigger a reflexive defense of abortion.
Jen Psaki and Joe Biden, like the tremendous majority of those who support legal abortion, are understandably reticent when it comes to questions of what exactly occurs in an abortion procedure, what exactly it means for a woman to exercise her “right to choose,” and who exactly is dwelling inside of a pregnant mother.
At least as a political matter, defending the legality of abortion requires adhering to a campaign of studiously avoiding reality. For perfectly obvious reasons, a politician simply cannot say, “Yes, I believe the creature inside a pregnant mother is not a ‘clump of cells’ but rather a living human being, and yet I insist that women retain the political right to have that human being killed for any reason whatsoever.”
To do so would mean not only the end of their career, most likely, but also would do the entire pro-abortion movement the disservice of revealing to a mostly disinterested public that abortion is in fact a grave violation of human rights. And so Jen Psaki, like the rest of them, dodges difficult questions by relying on the crutch of the “right to choose” — even when doing so exposes the unscientific, illogical, evil truth of what it means to defend abortion.
Alexandra DeSanctis is a staff writer for National Review and a visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.