‘Did Biden Say Abortion Yet?’ — When It Comes to Abortion, President Wears Mask of Euphemism

Since taking office the president’s administration has refrained from using the word, even as he pushes forward with pro-abortion policies.

President Joe Biden speaks on the North Lawn of the White House on April 27 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden speaks on the North Lawn of the White House on April 27 in Washington, DC. (photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

While the Biden administration has taken significant action on abortion, the president and his administration have repeatedly shied away from using the word “abortion” instead opting for terms like “reproductive health” and “women’s health.” This has not gone unnoticed by far-left abortion supporters like the National Network of Abortion Funds who have actually started a website tracking President Biden’s failure to say the word “abortion.”

The website highlighted how President Biden used the words “women’s health access” and “reproductive rights” rather than “abortion” when he rescinded Trump’s expanded Mexico City Policy, which barred taxpayer funding for abortion overseas and reversed his predecessor’s partial domestic defunding of Planned Parenthood accomplished by barring abortion providers from Title X family-planning funds. Even in the White House’s statement that “the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to codifying Roe v. Wade and appointing judges that respect foundational precedents like Roe” there was no mention of abortion, instead referencing “reproductive healthcare.”  

Additionally, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has avoided using the term in press briefings. When EWTN News Nightly’s Owen Jensen asked Psaki about the Hyde Amendment, which bars tax dollars from funding abortions, and the Mexico City Policy, she replied, “I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he [Biden] is a devout Catholic and somebody who attends church regularly.” More recently, when asked about a recent law in Texas that would prohibit abortion after the fetal heartbeat is detected, Psaki called it “the most restrictive recent assault on women’s fundamental rights under Roe v. Wade” and said that “the President supports and believes we should codify Roe v. Wade,” again without using the word “abortion.” 

Biden faced similar criticism on the campaign trail when he touted his support for abortion at a Planned Parenthood event in 2019 without ever saying the word. Biden even accepted Planned Parenthood’s endorsement in June 2020 with a statement referencing “reproductive healthcare” not abortion. 

 The New York Times recently noted Biden’s “silence on abortion rights,” observing his “decades-long conversion to the cause” as a baptized Catholic who started out in politics saying the Supreme Court had gone “too far” on Roe v. Wade, but became pro-abortion over the years. In 2015, Biden told America magazine that he accepted “on faith” that human life begins at conception, but that he was unwilling to impose that view on others. For a long time, Biden maintained his opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion and supported the Hyde Amendment. In a letter to constituents in 1994, he wrote, “those of us who are opposed to abortions should not be compelled to pay for them.” That changed on the 2020 campaign trail when he reversed his stance on Hyde in June 2019 saying, “If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code.”

As well, Biden recently declined an invitation to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, a tradition observed by the last three U.S. presidents during their first year in office, possibly in order to duck a campus controversy over his support as a Catholic politician for legal abortion. An open letter from “members of the Notre Dame community” with more than 4,000 signatures urged Father John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, not to invite Biden because, on abortion, “Biden’s actions already taken and those promised will result in the killing of countless innocent unborn” adding, “his is an inscrutable ‘personally opposed but nevertheless will promote and enable’ stance. It is singularly blameworthy to help people do what one knows to be wrong.”

Abortion activists are displeased with the administration’s failure to specifically mention abortion despite their extensive actions on the issue. “The level of the crisis calls for a stronger level of leadership,” Kelley Robinson, the executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund told The New York Times. “We’re looking for them to be explicit champions for sexual and reproductive health care and to use that bully pulpit to make sure that’s a priority that’s expressed from the highest office in the land.” The abortion advocacy group NARAL tweeted this week “It’s not that hard. Just say the word abortion.”

However, Biden is not alone in avoiding the use of the word abortion. The Democratic party once embraced the mantra of “safe, legal, and rare” when it came to abortion and Planned Parenthood even touted in 2016 their decision to “shed the abortion-specific ‘pro-choice’ label in favor of broader terms such as ‘reproductive rights’ and ‘women’s health care.’” Current Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson embraced the nation’s largest abortion provider’s work this year, saying it was “stigmatizing” to downplay abortion, but this is a recent development. Former Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen avoided using the word in interviews. She told Politico “it would not be accurate to say that I am a pro-abortion person. That doesn’t make sense to me, in the same way that you would never call a cardiologist pro-cardiac stenting, pro-cardiac surgery. I am for the full range of healthcare services that a patient needs in their lives.” She was later ousted from her role in 2019 due to the perception that she was downplaying abortion.

The Mississippi case before the Supreme Court that has caused renewed concern about Biden’s sanitized language on abortion involves the state’s attempted to prohibit abortion at 15 weeks where the most common procedure is dilation and evacuation in which an instrument is used “to grasp and pull the baby’s arms and legs, tearing the limbs from the child’s body. The abortionist continues to grasp intestines, spine, heart, lungs, and any other limbs or body parts. The most difficult part of the procedure is usually finding, grasping and crushing the baby’s head. After removing pieces of the child’s skull, the abortionist uses a curette to scrape the uterus and remove the placenta and any remaining parts of the baby.”

Pope Francis once said in reference to abortion, “last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves.” President Biden’s silence speaks volumes — if  he truly believes in his work to “codify Roe v. Wade” and protect “women’s health,” he could afford a specific mention of the abortion procedures his administration’s euphemisms are referencing.