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Biden Says He’s ‘Not Big on Abortion’ as a Catholic

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President Joe Biden said at a fundraiser on Tuesday that, being a “practicing Catholic,” he’s “not big on abortion,” though he was critical of state laws restricting abortion, according to The Hill.  His schedule included two campaign reception events in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

“I’m a practicing Catholic. I’m not big on abortion, but guess what? Roe v. Wade got it right,” Biden said.

The president made similar remarks recently at an event with abortion advocate groups on June 23.

“As I’ve said before, the Court got Roe right 50 years ago, and I believe Congress should restore the protections of Roe v. Wade once and for all,” Biden said.

After Roe v. Wade was overturned last year with the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, advocate groups criticized Biden’s avoidance of the topic. He also faced criticism for asserting that “no executive action from the president” can “restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as federal law,” and for calling on Congress to create such legislation.

Catholic Leadership on Abortion

Biden is only the second Catholic U.S. president, with John F. Kennedy being the first.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”

“Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.”

In 2016, Pope Francis published a letter granting priests “the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.”

The Pope has said on several occasions that “abortion is murder,” but disagrees with those priests who deny communion to those who have had or who support abortions.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops takes a similar view.

The Vatican’s bioethics institute, the Pontifical Academy for Life, called for increased discussion on the topic of life after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. It stated that “it is important to reopen a non-ideological debate on the place that the protection of life has in civil society and ask ourselves what kind of coexistence and society we want to build.”

According to a 2022 Pew Research poll, American Catholics are mixed in their stances on abortion—as are Americans in general. About 76 percent of American Catholics responded that abortion should be legal in some cases, with about 70 percent saying it should be legal if the mother’s life or health is threatened. Just 10 percent responded that it should be illegal without exception, and 13 percent that it should be legal in all cases.

Catholics who attended Mass weekly were less likely to support legal abortion than Catholics who attended Mass less frequently: 44 percent of Catholics attending Mass weekly responded that abortion should be illegal in most cases, while 24 percent responded that it should be illegal in all cases. In contrast, only 5 percent of Catholics who did not attend Mass at least weekly said abortion should be illegal in all cases, with 28 percent saying it should be illegal in most cases, and 49 percent stating their belief that it should be legal in most cases.

State Laws on Abortion

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization connected to Planned Parenthood, 43 states have some limit on abortions.

Several states implemented laws restricting abortion immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision last year, with more than 100 bills introduced at the state level.

Recently, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, proposed a 15-week limit on abortion at the federal level.

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