White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki took questions on Thursday as to President Biden's take on Texas' new law outlawing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. In so doing, she noted, perhaps unintentionally, that men can't get pregnant.
She took a question from a reporter who said "Following up on why does the President support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?"
"He believes that it's a woman's right. It's a woman's body and it's her choice," she said.
"Who he believe that she'll look after the unborn child?" Psaki was asked.
"He believes that it's up to a woman to make those decisions. And up to a woman to make those decisions with our doctor. I know you've 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 their rights should be respected," Psaki said.
The Biden administration has been very careful in months past to refer to mothers, who Psaki points out are "women," as "birthing persons." In their new budget, when referring to maternal mortality, the administration wrote that the funding would "help end this high rate of maternal mortality and race-based disparities in outcomes among birthing people..."
During a congressional hearing, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra was asked about what the term "birthing people" means. Senator James Lankford asked Becerra "I also noticed you changed a term in your budget work. You shifted in places from using the term 'mother' to 'birthing people' rather than mother. Can you help me get a good definition of birthing people?"
"I’ll check on the language there, but I think if we're talking about those who give birth, I think we're talking about…" Becerra said before trailing off. "I don't know how else to explain it to you other than…" But he was unable to complete the sentence. Perhaps Psaki could have helped him out by providing the term "woman."
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) also took up the term, saying at a hearing on maternal mortality that she is "committed to doing the most to doing the absolute most to protect black mothers, to protect black babies, and to protect black birthing people."
Deputy Director of OMB Shalanda Young defended the Biden administration's use of the term "birthing people" to replace "mothers" to Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), the top Republican on the House Budget Committee.
"There are certain people who do not have gender identities that apply to female and male so we think our language needs to be more inclusive on how we deal with complex issues. I think the underlying issues... is to try to ensure those of color who are giving birth are leaving the hospital alive.
"That's the issue rather than the verbiage. Verbiage matters, but the underlying issues are extremely important, and a lot of your colleagues are working hard on this. Because all of those giving birth are should have access to the same quality of health."
There are even "pregnant man" emojis, that are meant to "recognize that pregnancy is possible for some transgender men and non-binary people." But to Jen Psaki, abortion is a woman's rights issue, and not one that a man can possibly understand.
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