White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the White House “respectfully disagrees” with the Catholic Church on the use of aborted fetal tissue for research.
EWTN reporter Owen Jensen asked the White House press secretary Tuesday to address a statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops condemning President Joe Biden’s decision to reverse former President Donald Trump’s ban on using aborted fetal tissue for taxpayer-funded research.
“It is unethical to promote and subsidize research that can lead to legitimizing the violence of abortion,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said in an April 20 statement. “Researchers have demonstrated that we can do effective scientific research and develop efficacious clinical treatments without harvesting tissue from aborted babies.”
“It is also deeply offensive to millions of Americans for our tax dollars to be used for research that collaborates with an industry built on the taking of innocent lives,” Jensen said.
Psaki, who has previously defended Biden as a “devout Catholic,” suggested that the White House believes using aborted fetal tissue could potentially help cure diseases.
“The White House respectfully disagrees, and we believe that it’s important to invest in science and and look for opportunities to cure diseases, and I think that’s what this is hopeful to do,” Psaki said.
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is “a crime against human life,” “constitutes a grave offense” and that a person who obtains an abortion is automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
“Such use tends to legitimize abortion as a source of ‘life-affirming’ treatments, and requires collaboration with the abortion industry, which should be avoided,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement during former President George W. Bush’s administration.
Under Trump’s watch, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conducted a nine-month review of government-funded research involving fetal tissue from elective abortions. In July 2019, HHS banned the NIH internal research team from using fetal tissue and installed ethics boards to oversee all future federally funded research.
Fetal tissue is used in a number of research projects looking for cures and treatments including Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injury, eye disease and HIV, but religious and pro-life advocates argue the practice is unethical since the fetal tissue comes from aborted babies.
Pro-life advocates quickly responded to Psaki’s comments Tuesday afternoon.
“The @WhiteHouse ‘respectfully disagrees’ with the notion that harvesting the organs of unborn children with federal tax dollars should be a controversial issue,” tweeted Concerned Women for America. “This is a sickening and evil practice. Pray for these babies. Pray for America.”
Hey, remember when Biden campaigned as a devout Catholic?
Now Psaki “thinks” that he “respectfully disagrees” with the Catholic Church’s stance on taxpayer funding for fetal tissue research. https://t.co/ow9YmF27Kh
— prudence robertson (@pruspulse) April 27, 2021
Live Action founder and president Lila Rose highlighted the incongruity between Biden’s actions and his professed Catholicism.
“Essential to being Catholic is to seek to follow God’s teachings, given to us through His bride the Church,” Rose said. “You can’t ‘respectfully disagree’ with the Magisterium & still be a practicing Catholic. Joe Biden is not a practicing or faithful Catholic. He supports killing children.”
Essential to being Catholic is to seek to follow God’s teachings, given to us through His bride the Church. You can’t “respectfully disagree” with the Magisterium & still be a practicing Catholic.
Joe Biden is not a practicing or faithful Catholic. He supports killing children. https://t.co/PApioXwmzK
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) April 27, 2021