In a welcome twist to the vice presidential debate tonight, moderator Martha Raddatz asked Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan to personally address their views on abortion. While I found it odd for Raddatz to specifically tie the issue of abortion to religion, both men chose to address their political, personal, and policy views as well. Paul Ryan said it best:
Now, you want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course. But it’s also because of reason and science.
Ryan went on to do a stellar job explaining the logical pro-life position. He boldly proclaimed that life begins at conception, and he shared a personal story of seeing his own daughter’s heartbeat at just 7 weeks in utero. In addition, Ryan went on to call out President Obama’s administration for their attacks on religious liberty and Biden’s acceptance of China’s one-child policy. He also made a point of illustrating how extreme the Democrat platform on abortion has become:
Look at what they’re doing through Obamacare with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals.
Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties. And with respect to abortion, the Democratic Party used to say they wanted it to be safe, legal and rare. Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding. Taxpayer funding in Obamacare, taxpayer funding with foreign aid. The vice president himself went to China and said that he sympathized and wouldn’t second guess their one child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. That to me is pretty extreme.
While Ryan did unfortunately emphasize a Romney administration’s support for the rape and incest exception to abortion, it seems that he did not personally agree with this exception. He appeared to make a distinction between the principle that life begins at conception (his own position) and Romney’s policy to except abortions for rape and incest.
Ryan also scored yet another point when he reminded President Biden that an entire host of Catholic organizations, hospitals, and the like would not be suing over ObamaCare if their religious liberty weren’t being violated.
While it’s clear that Ryan answered the abortion question with knowledge and accuracy, Biden’s answer was much more shocking. As a Catholic, he first stated:
The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who – who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to – with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a – what we call a de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.
One would think such a statement would lead to a political position of defending the unborn – the ultimate people who can’t take care of themselves, the people who most need help. One would hope that Biden, with his years of experience, would be aware that science – not just religion – unarguably informs us that life begins at conception. But instead, Biden spoke of his belief that his personal views ought not to be imposed on “equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews.”
An odd factor in Biden’s statement is that devout Christians and Muslims are two of the biggest groups opposed to abortion. In fact, Biden would not be imposing his views on these groups that wholeheartedly agree with him.
Biden also contradicted his own admission that life begins at conception by stating that he does “not believe that we have a right to tell other people that – women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor.” However, if he believes that life – presumably a new life – begins at conception, we are not just talking about a woman controlling her own body. We are talking about ending the life of a new, unique human being. Biden seems to personally realize this truth, but refused to publicly acknowledge it.
Yet another shocking statement from Biden came in his words about ObamaCare and religious liberty:
With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.
That is a fact.
Uh, sorry, Mr. Vice President, but your facts are not real facts. Under ObamaCare, churches are practically the only organizations which have been exempted from the contraception mandate. The definition of religious employers used in the exemption section was so narrow (think a definition supplied by the ACLU and recognized in only three states) that even Catholic Charities doesn’t qualify. After all, they serve non-Catholic people. (And yes, I realize that religiously affiliated universities were given a modification on the original mandate. Still, being forced to provide insurance that gives free contraception to the students is a roundabout way of requiring the university to provide it.)
Now, Biden may have been referring to the one-year grace period so graciously offered by Kathleen Sebelius and company. Non-profit employers who object to the mandate for religious reasons have been given until August 2013 to comply or be fined. So Biden is correct that, as of this moment, these organizations don’t have to pay for or provide contraception.
However, pending the outcome of the many court cases, 2013 may be a very different story.