JOE BIDEN: I'd say, "Look, I know when [life] begins for me." It's a personal and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I'm prepared to accept the teachings of my church. But let me tell you. There are an awful lot of people of great confessional faiths--Protestants, Jews, Muslims and others--who have a different view. They believe in God as strongly as I do. They're intensely as religious as I am religious. They believe in their faith and they believe in human life, and they have differing views as to when life--I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society....The issue of abortion is a religious/moral issue on the one hand and a legal/political issue on the other. For 35 years, Republicans have managed to fuse those two dimensions. Biden offers a blueprint about how to seperate them.
TOM BROKAW: But if you, you believe that life begins at conception, and you've also voted for abortion rights...
BIDEN: No, what a voted against curtailing the right, criminalizing abortion. I voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously based view that it's a moment of conception. There is a debate in our church, as Cardinal Egan would acknowledge, that's existed. Back in "Summa Theologia," when Thomas Aquinas wrote "Summa Theologia," he said there was no--it didn't occur until quickening, 40 days after conception. How am I going out and tell you, if you or anyone else that you must insist upon my view that is based on a matter of faith? And that's the reason I haven't.
But then again, I also don't support a lot of other things. I don't support public funding. I don't, because that flips the burden. That's then telling me I have to accept a different view. This is a matter between a person's God, however they believe in God, their doctor, and themselves... What we're going to be spending our time doing is making sure that we reduce considerably the amount of abortions that take place by providing the care, the assistance and the encouragement for people to be able to carry to term and to raise their children.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Great Response on Abortion
Joe Biden offered one of the most nuanced answers about abortion I've ever heard a Democrat give. From Sunday's Meet the Press (I've cleaned the language up from the raw transcript):