Yesterday at the vice presidential debate, Martha Raddatz asked the question that many had in mind: with consideration to their Catholic faiths, where do Paul Ryan and Joe Biden stand on the issue of abortion?
Ryan responded first saying, “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith….” So, Ryan seems to be saying that his private morality becomes the country’s public morality?
He went on to say that “the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.” But Ryan also gave a coded and somewhat abstract answer that alluded to the fact that both he and Governor Romney want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Without Roe v. Wade, states would be free to ban abortion outright.
Ryan went on to falsely claim that the Obama administration has permitted taxpayer funding of abortion, conveniently omitting the well-known fact that the Hyde Amendment, (which has prohibited taxpayer funding for abortion except in cases of rape and incest or to save of the life of the woman since Congress passed it in 1976) was reaffirmed via an executive order by President Obama.
What was abundantly clear with Ryan’s answer was that not only does he want to impose his religious views upon the American public, but he also wants to restrict a woman’s right to make her own health care choices.
In contrast, Joe Biden, who is also Catholic, answered the question a bit differently:
My religion defines who I am, and I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life…. Life begins at conception in 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 — the congressman. I — I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor.
Right on, Joe! The decision to have a safe and legal abortion is a complicated and personal one, best left up to a woman, her family, her faith, and her medical provider. Obama/Biden get it. Romney/Ryan don’t.
At the end of the debate, when Raddatz asked, “If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?” The answer was clear: yes.
For more from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, check out womenarewatching.org