Biden on Abortion

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Martha Raddatz framed the question about abortion badly by bringing up religion, a frame that encourages people to think about the question in church-state terms that are both misleading and favorable to one side of the discussion. In response, Biden said that he accepted the Catholic Church’s alleged “doctrine” that life begins at conception in his “personal life” but would not impose it on others.

The Church does not, in fact, teach as a matter of faith that life begins at conception. It recognizes the scientific fact that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human organism — a member of the human species — and teaches as a matter of morals that we have obligations in justice to this being. Biden does not accept this teaching, and it is not clear that he even understands it.

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