Biden has made conflicting statements over the years about when he thinks life begins. During the 2012 vice presidential debate against Republican nominee Paul Ryan, he said that “life begins at conception, that is the judgment of the Church. I accept it in my personal life,” although he said he refused to “impose” that view on others.
In September 2021, after Biden reaffirmed his support for the Supreme Court’s now-overturned ruling in favor of abortion rights, Roe v. Wade, said he disagreed that human life begins at conception.
Shortly after these comments, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington challenged the president’s statement. “The Catholic Church teaches, and has taught, that life – human life – begins at conception,” he said. “So the president is not demonstrating Catholic teaching.”
After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year, Biden made a major effort to reaffirm legal abortion protections at the federal level. On July 8, he issued an important executive order aimed at protecting access to abortion.
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the American Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee, said at the time that it is “deeply disturbing and tragic” that Biden would use presidential power “to promote and facilitate abortion in our country, seeking all possible avenues”. deprive unborn children of their most basic human and civil right, the right to life.
The pope himself was quick to address Biden’s position, in response to a reporter’s question about Biden’s position and whether Catholic politicians who support abortion should be admitted to the Holy Communion.
“Is it just to eliminate a human life?” Pope Francis said in an interview with Univision and Televisa that aired July 12.
The pope said he left the issue of Biden’s defense of abortion to the president’s “conscience”.
“Let him talk to his pastor about this inconsistency,” he said.