President Joe Biden raised eyebrows last week after stating that he does not believe that life begins at conception. A Catholic, Biden’s remarks fly in the face of Church teaching and they also appear to contradict past statements of his own. The President made the remarks after being asked by a reporter how he was going to respond to the Texas Heartbeat Act, which prohibits abortions once a preborn child’s heartbeat is detected.
“I respect people who don’t support Roe v. Wade, I respect their views,” the president said. “I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception and all — I respect that, don’t agree, but I respect that. I’m not gonna impose that on people.”
But the science of human development is clear: life does begin at the moment of fertilization (often referred to as conception), when sperm meets egg and a new human organism is created with his or her own DNA, distinct from that of the child’s parents.
While the White House has frequently referred to Biden as a “devout Catholic,” his comments counteract Church teaching.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2270 says, “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.” Just recently, Pope Francis affirmed this teaching, saying that abortion and euthanasia are a result of a “throwaway culture.”
“Any embryology manual given to a student in medical school says that by the third week of conception, sometimes before the mother realizes (that she is pregnant), all the organs in the embryo are already outlined, even the DNA,” the Pope said in his interview. “It is a life, a human life.”
While Biden’s statements contradict the Catholic Church, they also appear to contradict his previous belief about when life begins. The National Catholic Register reports that in a 2012 vice presidential debate against Rep. Paul Ryan, Biden appeared to take a different view. “Life begins at conception, that‘s the Church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life,” he said at the time. “But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.”
That wasn’t the only instance in which Biden affirmed that life begins at conception. The Register also reports that in a 2008 interview he said he was “prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception.” In a 2015 interview with America Magazine, he said, “I’m prepared to accept that at the moment of conception there’s human life and being, but I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing, non-God-fearing people that have a different view.”
The Biden-Harris administration has done much to remove as many pro-life policies as it can, making it the most pro-abortion administration in United States history. Biden has said that his administration “is deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly five decades ago and will protect and defend that right.” He also told reporters he was looking at ways to thwart the Texas law, instructing the Department of Justice “to look and see whether there are things that can be done that can limit the independent action of individuals in enforcing a state law.”
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