Biden balks at explaining abortion stance to EWTN correspondent

Christine Rousselle   By Christine Rousselle for CNA


President Joe Biden, with ashes on his forehead in honor of Ash Wednesday, walks to speak to reporters before boarding Marine One with First Lady Jill Biden on the South Lawn of the White House on March 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Bidens are spending the day in Superior, Wisconsin, with cabinet members where they will give remarks on the bipartisan infrastructure legislation. / Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Washington D.C., Mar 2, 2022 / 13:24 pm (CNA).

U.S. President Joe Biden (D), a Catholic, declined to discuss why he supports abortion rights despite Church teaching prior to boarding Marine One ahead of a flight to Duluth on Wednesday, March 2.

“I don’t want to get into a debate with you about theology,” said Biden, after being asked by EWTN Correspondent Owen Jensen about how he is able to reconcile his Catholic faith with his public support of abortion. “I’m not going to make a judgment for other people.”

Biden, who was wearing an ash cross on his forehead, said that he had met with Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, his bishop, earlier in the morning and received ashes then.

When asked by reporters, Biden said the he gave up “all sweets” for Lent, including ice cream.

“And I’m — you know me, I start off with dessert,” said Biden. “No ice cream. Nothing.”

Biden, the second Catholic president, has had unwavering support for abortion rights as president, and has refused to say if he supports any restrictions on the procedure.

On Tuesday night, during his first State of the Union address, Biden noted that the “constitutional right affirmed by Roe v. Wade, standing precedent for half a century, is under attack as never before,” and said that “preserving a woman’s right to chose” is a positive step for the country’s healthcare system.

The Catholic Church is opposed to deliberate abortion throughout the entirety of a pregnancy and teaches that life begins at conception.

On the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris released a joint statement pledging their support for codifying the Supreme Court decision into law.

“The constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years ago today is under assault as never before,” read the statement. “It is a right we believe should be codified into law, and we pledge to defend it with every tool we possess.”

“We are deeply committed to protecting access to health care, including reproductive health care—and to ensuring that this country is not pushed backwards on women’s equality,” the statement continued.

During the 2020 election, Biden reversed positions on the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions, over a 24-hour period. Biden had voted for and supported the Hyde Amendment throughout the entirety of his time in the Senate, and had restated his opposition to overturning the amendment when asked by reporters on June 6, 2019.

The following day, Biden said that he had changed his mind and believed that Hyde should be overturned.

At a presidential campaign debate in March 2020, Biden was challenged by fellow presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over his previous votes for Hyde.

Biden said that “if we’re going to have public funding for all healthcare along the line, there is no way you could allow for there to be a requirement that you have the Hyde Amendment.”

At the time, now-vice president Harris took credit for Biden’s evolution on the Hyde Amendment.

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  1. He didn’t have a problem with making a judgement for other people when he handed down the vaccine mandate. But I suppose he’ll have that debate at the pearly gates.

  2. Abortion is a Justice issue because it violates the Natural Law, the ground of justice and civil law, and the right to life. Human life in the womb deserves full protection under the law, not a wrongly adjudicated proscription that allows for murder of the prenatal infant.
    Biden, is both an heretical Catholic and a lawless politician. Roe is shown to have no basis in the practice of justice.

  3. Why should he have to explain himself to some EWTN reporter when he clearly has the favor of both the Cardinal of Washington DC and the Pope? The ashes on his forehead effectively amount to the stamp of approval from Gregory and Bergoglio. Catholic politicians who flagrantly defy Church teaching are not the biggest problem we face – bishops and a pope who happily let them get away with it are. When we frankly admit that bitter enemies of the Faith occupy most of the highest positions of the hierarchy, including the top one, then we’ll have taken the first step in dealing with the crisis.

  4. The top of my head just blew off.

    Biden is “giving up” sweets for Lent? But, at the same time, enabling the systematic killing of millions upon millions of children around the world?

    My God!

    Doesn’t anyone see the hideous, monstrous, unthinkable incongruity there?

    If Joe Biden is Catholic, then the word has no meaning.

  5. This questioning perpetuates the wrong notion that Catholics are to politically engage or vote on the issue of abortion only, and neglect the issues of racism, economic inequity, broken immigration system, inaccessible health care, climate emergency, death penalty, euthanasia. Read Matthew 25, Acts 2, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Social Teachings of the Church, or the latest “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” of the USCCB. President Biden is correct not to directly answer the question which would have involved explaining theology and especially the matter of conscience. The reporter thought he got a scoop but actually only showed his cluelessness about theology and especially about the use of one’s conscience in determining complex matters. This again shows that EWTN is not fully Catholic by not presenting the full spectrum of Catholic teaching in reporting about social issues. This aligns with the regular pattern of EWTN in disrespectfully and disloyally bashing Pope Francis or in resisting or rejecting some of the reforms mandated by the Second Vatican Council. The fullness of catholicity of EWTN is questionable.

    • Oh, please. You’re committing the same embarrassing mistake as Joe Biden: pretending this is a “theological issue”, when it is no more specifically theological than is the issue of racial equality or economic justice for poor people. It’s not “complex”. It 101 science, commonsense, and human decency. And the questioning of Biden is completely legit: he (and his team and the media) continually promote his “Catholic faith”, and yet he is most passionate (in terms of policy and also, at times, personal comment) in pushing for “reproductive health”. Finally, one’s conscience as a Catholic is to be formed by Church teaching, and it is very clear on this matter:

      Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: ‘You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.'”

      That’s. Very. Clear. Very.

      • Thank you, Mr. Olson.

        Your answer to Noel’s comment was far more cogent — and far less rude — than mine would have been.

        The left’s effort to characterize abortion as a complex theological issue beyond the ken of us ordinary folk who ain’t got us the book larnin’ ya need ta unnerstand it good is, frankly, pathetic.

      • It’s also very clear this is a moral issue with wide consequences even for those who view themselves at the periphery of the discussion. The decriminalization of abortion in the US was a Republican initiative in the 60s. It was furthered by doctors, nearly all male, who had a motive to avoid imprisonment in exchange for a rather lucrative cash stream for what they viewed as a medical procedure. It was constitutionally enshrined by GOP appointees to the US Supreme Court. Mr Nixon’s justices went 3-1 in favor, and the structure was set that executives and legislatures were sidelined for the next fifty years. Both major US political parties knew they were insulated as long as judiciaries controlled the matter.

        The truth is that unlike China, one of main pressures to procure abortions in the US is personal. It comes from parents and partners. Secondarily, it is economic: people need jobs, they are fearful of providing for a child or for themselves. These factors can all be wrongheaded, and likely are.

        So yes, a lot of otherwise good and moral Christians contribute to the culture that supports abortion. Yes also, racism, anti-labor initiatives, and other political factors contribute to abortion. The lack of support for women with children is no less remote a cooperation as advocating for a useless law that won’t affect the big abortion ticker at all.

        I know: the Right isn’t big into compassion. Or self-examination. They want to turn away when priests and conservative politicians pay for the abortions of mistresses, girlfriends, daughters, or wives. They complain about boycotting China–it’s too difficult; everything I buy comes from there!

        What many pearl-clutchers don’t realize is that the culture of life starts with them: how they give good or bad example. That includes how they treat women, death-row convicts, immigrants, people of color, and even their white neighbors.

        Mr Biden’s approach raises questions, but not as many as the politically-opposed-but-morally-in-favor crowd.

        • Todd, your assumptions here are offensive.

          Have there been Republicans who favored abortion? Of course. In a country of hundreds of millions of people, there are always outliers who can be used to try to derail any argument.

          But how often in the past 49 years, friend Todd, has abortion been a Republican Party platform plank?

          (For the Democrats, the answer is, every one of those 49 years. The Republicans? Never.)

          When has opposition to abortion been verboten for Republican candidates?

          (The answer, again, *never.*)

          You try to run away from the Democrats’ history as the all-in, flat-out, straight-up, passionate and rabid pro-abortion party. But it’s a fool’s errand.

          In the past half century, Democrats have espoused no issue more consistently than abortion, prioritized no policy before abortion, promoted no policy more strenuously than abortion.

          Whereas the raison d’etre for the Democratic Party pre-1964 was white supremacy, since 1973, it has been abortion.

          The Democrats are the all-abortion all-the-time party.

          Indeed, what party has even recently abolished the informal, Republican-initiated agreement to prohibit the use of federal dollars to fund abortions? The Democrats.

          Most offensive of all is your illogical, almost comical, assertion that opposing abortion means unconcern for troubled women, or disdain for the poor, or a failure to floss adequately, or low scores on the SAT’s, or whatever else you were claiming.

          Unless you can claim to have polled each of the dozens of millions of Republicans in America, your assertion is patently absurd.

          Actually, no. Even more offensive is your assumption that we who denigrate the Democratic Party for its absolute and unwavering support for abortion are Republicans.

          I, good Todd, am personally insulted at your implication.

          I have long considered most Republican politicians to be spineless, soulless, unprincipled poltroons.

          In fact the only good thing I can think of to say about them is that, in most cases anyway, they’re not Democrats.

          Sir, if you choose to vote Democratic despite their unwavering promotion of killing every cute, sweet, funny, beautiful baby they can get their initiatives on, that is your business. And I will pray for you.

          But your decision implies nothing about what I do or believe or support.

    • Noel, your argument doesn’t hold water…
      It’s like arguing that the Titanic was in no danger because, after all, there’s more parts to the the Barque of Peter than a simple hole below the waterline.
      Not that “complex” after all.

      As for the USCCB, here’s what they had to say back in 1998, about faithful citizenship:
      …Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing and health care” (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 23). We pray that Catholics will be advocates for the weak and the marginalized in all these areas. “But being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community” (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 23).

    • And yet it stings deeply they are all Catholic, still large-C, still going to Mass, still receiving Communion, still going to confession and receiving absolution, and still walking around not getting hit by lightning. Political lay people don’t get to decide who’s in and who’s out. Last time I checked, the Last Judge is in charge. And he’s not y’all.

  6. President Biden, Pelosi – their actions are beyond disgraceful. It’s one thing to make mistakes in ignorance; it’s another thing entirely to willfully and obstinately promote an evil that robs innocent human beings of their lives. They, as we all, will answer for their actions in this life. Given the Church’s constant teaching, it’s not difficult to imagine how difficult it will be for anyone who remains unrepentant. The stain of mortal sin – i.e., indifference to the murder of countless millions by enabling a culture of death – will be exposed and judged accordingly. “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid… .” – from the Collect for Purity, Divine Worship: the Missal

  7. Biden’s implication that those of us who don’t have a theology degree can’t grasp the enormity of abortion is patronizing and insulting.
    P.S. More than one of those lettered theologians have helped bring about the moral confusion we currently live in.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Biden balks at explaining abortion stance to EWTN correspondent – Via Nova Media
  2. Joe Biden le "catholique" bégaye pour expliquer sa position pro avortement

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