On Ash Wednesday, Biden Balks at Explaining Abortion Stance to EWTN Correspondent


Christine Rousselle/CNA

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden, a Catholic, declined to discuss why he supports abortion rights despite Church teaching prior to boarding Marine One ahead of a flight to Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday, March 2.  

“I don’t want to get into a debate with you about theology,” said Biden, after being asked by EWTN correspondent Owen Jensen about how he is able to reconcile his Catholic faith with his public support of abortion. “I’m not going to make a judgment for other people.” 

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Biden, who was wearing an ash cross on his forehead, said that he had met with Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, his bishop, earlier in the morning and received ashes then.

When asked by reporters, Biden said that he gave up “all sweets” for Lent, including ice cream.

“And I’m — you know me, I start off with dessert,” said Biden. “No ice cream. Nothing.” 

Biden, the second Catholic president, has had unwavering support for abortion rights as president and has refused to say if he supports any restrictions on the procedure. 

On Tuesday night, during his first State of the Union address, Biden noted that the “constitutional right affirmed by Roe v. Wade, standing precedent for half a century, is under attack as never before” and said that “preserving a woman’s right to chose” is a positive step for the country’s health care system. 

The Catholic Church is opposed to deliberate abortion throughout the entirety of a pregnancy and teaches that life begins at conception.

On the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris released a joint statement pledging their support for codifying the Supreme Court decision into law. 

“The constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years ago today is under assault as never before,” read the statement. “It is a right we believe should be codified into law, and we pledge to defend it with every tool we possess.”

“We are deeply committed to protecting access to health care, including reproductive health care — and to ensuring that this country is not pushed backwards on women’s equality,” the statement continued. 

During the 2020 election, Biden reversed positions on the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions, over a 24-hour period. Biden had voted for and supported the Hyde Amendment throughout the entirety of his time in the Senate and had restated his opposition to overturning the amendment when asked by reporters on June 6, 2019.

The following day, Biden said that he had changed his mind and believed that Hyde should be overturned. 

At a presidential campaign debate in March 2020, Biden was challenged by fellow presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., over his previous votes for Hyde. 

Biden said that, “if we’re going to have public funding for all health care along the line, there is no way you could allow for there to be a requirement that you have the Hyde Amendment.”

At the time, now-vice president Harris took credit for Biden’s evolution on the Hyde Amendment.

The Biden administration also has expressed support for the Womens Health Protection Act, which was voted down in the Senate on Monday.

Christine Rousselle: © 2021 EWTN News, Inc. Reprinted with permission from the National Catholic Register – http://www.ncregister.com.