Vice President Joe Biden believes that life begins at conception, according to a statement he made while inviting pro-lifers to join the Democratic party in conjunction with Pope Francis’s visit to the United States.
Biden maintained that the question of when life begins is a religious matter. “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 [and] non-God-fearing people that have a different view,” he said during an interview published by America, a Jesuit-run outlet, on Monday.
“Abortion is always wrong,” Biden continued. “All the principles of my faith, [which] I make no excuse for attempting to live up to — I don’t all the time. But I’m not prepared to impose doctrine that I’m prepared to accept on the rest of [the country].”
The vice president’s stance puts him in the company of a long line of Roman Catholic Democrats, dating back to Mario Cuomo. The interview was published one day before Senate Democrats filibustered a ban on late-term abortions, legislation that derives much of its force from evidence that in utero fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation.
#share#It’s the latest bit of evidence that has Republicans increasingly confident in the empirical basis for their abortion views. “The science is settled. It’s not even a consensus, it is a unanimity, that human life begins at conception,” Florida senator Marco Rubio said on Fox News in May.
#related#Dr. Maureen Condic, a professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah, wrote a white paper in 2008 buttressing that position. “A neutral examination of the factual evidence merely establishes the onset of a new human life at a scientifically well defined ‘moment of conception,’ a conclusion that unequivocally indicates that human embryos from the zygote stage forward are indeed living individuals of the human species — human beings,” Condic wrote.
The statement that “abortion is always wrong” puts Biden at odds with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), who has portrayed her support for abortion rights as an extension of her religious beliefs. “As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this,” Pelosi told reporters in 2013.
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.