The president of the United States acknowledged on Tuesday that preborn babies are children, prompting questions about his and his party’s pro-abortion advocacy. Biden’s comments came after Politico reported on the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion in which Justice Samuel Alito flatly rejected the longstanding precedent in Roe v. Wade.
“The idea that we’re gonna make a judgment that is going to say that no one can make the judgment to choose to abort a child based on a decision by the Supreme Court, I think goes way overboard,” President Biden said.
He prefaced his comments by suggesting that Roe “says what all basic mainstream religions have historically concluded – that the right – that the existence of a human life and being is a question. Is it at the moment of conception? Is it six months? Is it six weeks? Is it – is it quickening, like [Thomas] Aquinas argued?”
But as Katie Yoder noted in an article for the Catholic News Agency:
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Catholic Church’s pro-life position has remained consistent from the beginning. St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century drew from Aristotle, including his theory that the rational human soul is not present at the start of pregnancy, the USCCB says. But, at the same time, the saint rejected abortion as gravely wrong at every stage, calling it a sin “against nature” to reject God’s gift of life.
The Biden administration has vehemently defended Roe, which effectively allows abortion up to the point of birth. He and his party have also pursued codifying Roe at the federal level – raising the question of whether he thinks those laws would allow the end of innocent human life.
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley tweeted on Tuesday that Biden’s statement was “surprising.”
President Biden made a surprising statement today in describing Roe as protecting the "right to abort a child." Pro-choice advocates often object to the reference to anything other than the "fetus" in debates.https://t.co/TikC6BQlfY
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) May 3, 2022
“President Biden made a surprising statement today in describing Roe as protecting the ‘right to abort a child,’” he said. “Pro-choice advocates often object to the reference to anything other than the ‘fetus’ in debates.” He also pointed to NPR’s claim that “[t]he term ‘unborn’ implies that there is a baby inside a pregnant woman, not a fetus. Babies are not babies until they are born. They’re fetuses.”
As Turley indicated, Biden’s statement marks a departure from prevailing trends in public discussion on the issue. In the past, media outlets seemed to have taken pains to avoid humanizing babies in the womb. CNN, for example, notably used the phrase “fetus that was born” in describing a bill designed to help abortion survivors.
For Biden in particular, his comments raise questions about his previous advocacy.
Biden slipped up today, acknowledging that abortion kills children: "…choose to abort a child"
How tragic to see a man, who for decades in the Senate stood against tax funding for abortion, so completely sell out to Big Abortion pic.twitter.com/1baGbniuRu
— Susan B. Anthony List #ModernizeOurLaw (@SBAList) May 3, 2022
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List tweeted a video of Biden’s remarks and said: “How tragic to see a man, who for decades in the Senate stood against tax funding for abortion, so completely sell out to Big Abortion.”
The group was referring to then-candidate Biden’s decision to reverse his decades-old support for the Hyde Amendment during the 2020 presidential race.
Politico’s reporting indicates that a majority of the justices are ready to overturn Roe. While the Court has verified Alito’s opinion, it’s unclear if that’s the one that will ultimately be released in coming months.
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