White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has made an art form out of shutting down gotcha questions–usually from Fox News reporter Peter Doocy–and is now getting praise for how she handled a Christian reporter who compared abortion to "hiring a hitman."
During her October 27 press briefing, Psaki called on EWTN Washington Correspondent Owen Jensen, who has sparred with her on abortion rights in the past.
You can see what happened in the video below.
Jensen asked about President Joe Biden's Friday meeting with Pope Francis:
"The White House has said they will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity. Will that include the human dignity of the unborn?"
Psaki noted that Jensen has asked her about President Biden's beliefs on abortion before, and she has long asserted that the President believes in a woman's right to choose.
She had to wrest back control after Jensen interrupted her mid-sentence:
"Let me finish my answer, there's a great…" [interrupted once more]
"But what I wanted to note since you follow this closely, is that there's a great deal of agreement and overlap with the President and Pope Francis on a range of issues, poverty, combating the climate crisis, ending the COVID-19 pandemic."
"These are all hugely important, impactful issues that will be the centerpiece of what their discussion is when they meet."
Psaki went on to acknowledge that President Biden and Pope Francis differ in their views on abortion, though she said she expects the two will have a "constructive dialogue."
Jensen's attempt to follow up was quickly shut down but he proved so persistent that Psaki could not move on to the next reporter. It was then that he asked the question that got him shut down:
"The Pope has said abortion is murder, and it's like hiring a hitman. Does the president agree or disagree with that?"
Psaki's response was quick and to the point:
"You know that the president believes in a woman's right to choose. You're very familiar with this issue. We've spoken about it many times."
Many praised Psaki for the way she handled the situation.
Biden's meeting with Pope Francis was reportedly a friendly affair that ran long on time. There's no indication whether abortion rights were discussed.
Biden's beliefs on abortion have garnered considerable attention in recent weeks, particularly after he issued a harsh condemnation of a Texas law that went into effect last month.
The law prohibits virtually all abortions after a heartbeat is detected, which is typically after six weeks of pregnancy. It also empowers citizens to file lawsuits against abortion providers suspected of violating the new policy.
In his remarks, Biden said the law "blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade," the landmark Supreme Court decision that protects a pregnant woman's right to choose reproductive healthcare without excessive government restriction.
Critics of the abortion law have noted that its requirements regarding the existence of a fetal heartbeat are rather misleading.
A vaginal ultrasound may detect a fetal heartbeat as early as 5 1/2 to 6 weeks after gestation. More specifically, that's when a fetal pole, the first visible sign of a developing embryo, can sometimes be seen.
However, a heartbeat can be better assessed between 6 1/2 to seven weeks after gestation.
The Supreme Court has agreed to review the Texas law on November 1.