|VP Joe Biden|
During last night’s vice-presidential debate, the candidates were asked about their stance on abortion rights and how they reconcile them with their Catholic beliefs. While Republican nominee Paul Ryan gave the predictably authoritarian response that he would ban all abortion except for emergencies, Vice-President Joe Biden broke with tradition and gave an answer that wasn’t only not embarrassing, but even laudable:
With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call de fide (doctrine ?). 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.
Despite the obligatory fluff about “life begin[ning] at conception” (as if biological activity only began during the egg’s fertilization), that’s the only true answer any so-called “pro-lifer” should ever give (and not only because providing access to abortion demonstrably saves lives). It’s also the only acceptable answer for anyone who honestly claims to uphold secularism in government by refusing to legislate their own religious beliefs at the expense of everyone else. You don’t have to agree with abortion to be pro-choice; you just shouldn’t try to force anyone else to abide by your personal moral code, no matter how strongly you feel about it. Both science and the courts have long since ruled that abortion isn’t “murder”, so all that’s left is to respect women’s right to bodily autonomy.
Biden also proceeded to throw some cold water over the claims that the federal contraception mandate supposedly violates the religious freedom of anti-abortion employers:
With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy — any hospital — none has to either refer contraception. None has to pay for contraception. None has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.
Indeed it is; one has yet to hear a credible explanation for why allowing workers access to birth control (including abortion!) coverage through their insurance company without the employer being forced to pay a single dime or include such coverage in their own healthcare plans is somehow an unreasonable restriction of their personal religious beliefs. It’s just a moronic claim through and through.
Which, of course, brings us to today’s outraged braying from Catholic League blowhard Bill Donohue:
Last night, Biden added to his problems by saying he agrees that life begins at conception, but he doesn’t want to do anything to ensure the rights of the unborn child. The Catholic Church is opposed to animal cruelty as well, yet it is a sure bet that Biden has no problem with laws that punish dog fighting. Maybe if he began to think of little Joe in his mother’s womb the way he thinks of Fido, more kids would live.
Yes, the man did just compare women’s reproductive rights with forcing animals to fight to the death. Because when you’ve got nothing but irrational arguments untethered from reality, you might as well resort to the most ridiculous rhetoric possible.
Just as obnoxious was Biden’s claim that the Obama administration is not interfering with the religious liberties of Catholic non-profits. Is he unaware of the dozens of lawsuits filed by the bishops, the laity, and Catholic institutions seeking to insulate themselves from the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate? Of course not.
Donohue appears to be confusing mere claims of a violation with the actual existence of a violation. That these goobers believe (or claim to believe) that the new law interferes with their religious freedom doesn’t make it so. They’re plainly wrong, as has been documented and explained countless times. Only those who are blind to reality or outright dishonest continue to parrot this thoroughly debunked canard.
To top it all off, Donohue concludes his rant by accusing Biden of switching positions on the matter after having previously expressed doubts about the mandate. It apparently doesn’t occur to him that most (rational) people are actually able to change their minds after considering new evidence and thinking things through. But then, what else to expect from an obsessed flack for an organization that exists solely to promote and enforce its own blind dogma?