Does Biden Support Conscience Rights for Pro-Life Doctors?

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks after the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, January 20, 2021. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

During yesterday’s White House press briefing, Joe Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki declined to say whether the president support conscience rights for doctors who object to performing abortions.

The reporter’s question was related to the Equality Act, which, as I’ve noted elsewhere on NRO, is more than a left-wing move to impose a revisionist view of sex, gender, and human nature. It’s also a vehicle for a major expansion of legal abortion.

Under the provisions of the bill as it stands, refusing to perform an abortion, even for reasons of religion or conscience, would constitute illegal discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. What’s more, the bill’s terms almost certainly would require that both federal and state governments direct health-care funding to underwrite elective abortion procedures.

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Confronted about the lack of conscience protections in the bill, Psaki replied only that President Biden “has been a long supporter of Roe v. Wade” and ignored the reporter’s specific point, despite a follow-up question asking for further clarity.

Asked whether Biden plans to maintain the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division at the Health and Human Services Department, created during the Trump administration to field complaints of conscience violations from health-care workers, Psaki dodged again.

“You’ll have to talk to a future Secretary Becerra once he is confirmed,” Psaki replied.

Over the course of two years, Biden has gone from being a decades-long supporter of the Hyde amendment and its protections for pro-life taxpayers to vocally opposing Hyde and refusing to square with the public about whether his administration supports compelling pro-life doctors to perform abortions.

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