Vice President Joe Biden says that his Catholic religion defines who he is and that he supports legalized abortion.
That was the sum total of the Biden answer to a question about religion and abortion during the October 11 vice presidential debate between himself and GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Ryan is also a Catholic.
This year’s election marks the first time both vice presidential candidates are Catholics, although the two men differ widely in their understanding of Catholic teaching.
What Biden Said
“This debate is indeed historic,” Raddatz began. “We have two Catholic candidates, first time on a stage such as this, and I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion. Please talk about how you came to that decision. Talk about how your religion played a part in that.”’
Ryan answered first, saying that the Romney ticket is pro-life — but not for unborn babies conceived of rape and incest. Romney would also allow exceptions for the “health of the mother.”
And it has particularly informed my social doctrine. 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 de fide [dogmatic teaching]. Life begins at conception. That's the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life.
But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and — I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.
I — I do not believe that — that we have a right to tell other people that women, they — they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court — I’m not going to interfere with that.
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Photo of Joe Biden at vice presidential debate: AP Images