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WH Press Sec Refuses to Guarantee COVID Relief Won’t Fund Abortion

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., February 16, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday refused to guarantee that the Biden administration’s coronavirus relief bill will not route taxpayer dollars to the abortion industry.

Asked during her regular press briefing whether President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, will include taxpayer funding for the abortion industry, Psaki declined to offer any assurance.

“Well, the president’s view on the Hyde Amendment is well-known,” Psaki said in response to a question from the Eternal Word Television Network. Biden defended the Hyde amendment, which blocks public funds from being spent on abortion, throughout his four-decade Senate career, but he abandoned that stance during his 2020 campaign, citing an increase in restrictive abortion regimes at the state level.

“He also believes that community health centers are a key part of addressing the pandemic and ensuring that people and communities have access to vaccines, have access to treatment and information about making sure they are healthy and their loved ones are healthy, so that remains a priority to the president. He’s shared his view on the Hyde Amendment. I don’t think I have anything for you,” she continued.

Pressed on whether she could guarantee that Americans who do not support abortion will not see their tax dollars going to the abortion industry, Psaki again hedged.

“As I’ve just noted, three quarters of the public supports the components of package, wants to see the pandemic get under control, wants to see people put back to work,” she said.

House Democrats have proposed a $50 million funding increase to the Title X Family Planning Program, which provides birth control and other family planning services for low-income families and individuals.

The Trump administration issued a rule abortion-rights advocates dubbed the “domestic gag rule” mandating that “none of the funds appropriated for Title X may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning” and emphasizing that there must be “physical and financial separation” between abortion services and groups receiving funding.

In 2019, Planned Parenthood announced plans to withdraw from the Title X program over the Trump administration rule barring groups who provide abortions or abortion referrals from receiving Title X funds.

However, the Biden administration last month reversed the rule restricting Title X funding as it relates to groups that perform abortions.

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