Biden, Ryan talk abortion, Catholic social teaching in debate

AP Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan after their debate on Oct. 11, 2012. … Continued


Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan after their debate on Oct. 11, 2012.

During their only debate this campaign season Thursday night, Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) discussed how their Catholic beliefs have shaped their views on abortion.

“Please talk about how you came to that decision,” asked debate moderator Martha Raddatz, ABC’s senior foreign correspondent. “Talk about how your religion played a part in that. And, please, this is such an emotional issue for so many people in this country.

In the only debate between the candidates, Biden and Ryan discussed their views on domestic issues such as the economy, foreign policy and the role of the vice president. Biden and Ryan faced off in the sole vice-presidential debate from Centre College in Danville, Ky.

Near the end of the debate, Raddatz asked about the role their religion has played in their own personal views on abortion.

“I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith,” Ryan said. “Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life.”

“Now, you want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course. But it’s also because of reason and science.

The Republican vice-presidential candidate shared how his eldest daughter’s nickname is “Bean” due to how she appeared in her first ultrasound. He also said that he’s troubled by what he feels is the Obama administration’s infringement on “our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals. Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties.

Biden challenged what Ryan’s characterization of the health-care reform as an assault on the Catholic Church, noting that “no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, 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.”

He said that while he’s been a practicing Catholic all his life and his faith informs his social doctrine.

“The 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 a (inaudible) doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

While he accepts the church’s doctrine when it comes to abortion, he refuses to “impose that on others.”

“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. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.”

Ryan emphasized made clear Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and would oppose abortions with “exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”

Full transcript: VP candidates debate

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  • Secular1

    I thought, it was disgusting the way Ms. Raddatz framed that question. Why do i care how the malarkey that is peddled by their church formed their policy perspectives – be it be abortion, or health care or foreign policy. This is what I hate about these journalists, who feel they are obligated to throw these bones to all these people of DOG or should I say people of sky daddy. Her comes Ms. Quinn mouthing inanities again. While ms. Raddatz conducted a splendid debate and I liked the way she had both of them on short leash, as far as time goes and overall questions too. I feel compelled to dress her down on that catholic question, going into the to fairy tale land. She might as well have asked how did their belief in Santa Claus informed them on their policy perspectives. At least that would have been an honest question.

  • arona

    Biden’s comment “no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, 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.”
    apparently is a flat out lie, or is he officially resinding the HHS mandate?

  • margaretmeyers

    I’m proud of Biden. Your faith is YOUR faith, and you can hold it as tightly as you want to… just don’t expect me or anyone else to hold it that way.

  • ushldcallme

    21 It would have been better for them never to have learnt the way of uprightness, than to learn it and then desert the holy commandment that was entrusted to them. — 2 Peter 2:21

    32 ‘So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. — Matthew 10:32

  • cricket44

    No, you are apparently misinterpreting the HHS mandate. Biden was dead on.

    There is NO religious liberty infringement here. None.

  • cricket44

    Ryan is so skeevy. Deluded, also, apparently, since reason and science recognize that the *woman* is a person.

  • trace1

    And the question nobody wants to answer: Exactly whom would a woman or young girl have to stand before and what questions would she have to answer to prove she was forcibly impregnated? What hideous tribunal would be arbitrating this matter?

  • willserve

    I just commented on someone elses post but I am so damn angry I will post again. Those of you who believe yourselves to be so righteous about reversing roe vs wade will not be the ones pulling the explosion of dumpster babies out of the trash! Do you not get it?? People will do what they have to. Voting against women and women’s health is so insane and it blows me away. Babies that will be born so disfigured and in pain that die days later IN PAIN! But you know what? Dont you worry about it MORAL AMERICA! IT’S PEOPLE LIKE ME THAT WILL PULL THE DUMPSTER BABIES OUT OF THE DARK. IT’S PEOPLE THAT SERVE THAT SEE THE GROSSEST PART OF HUMANITY, WE GOT THIS. DON’T YOU CONCERN YOURSELF WITH REALITY.

  • trace1

    The sad fact is that the Republicans don’t really give a crap about abortion. If they did, they would be working doubletime to make sure that contraception is widely available — and cheap for all women. It’s the one thing that is PROVEN to reduce the rate of abortions.

    Instead, they want to allow every employer to deny coverage under insurance plans for contraception if they feel like it. What does that tell you?

    These are sick, sick people.

  • DearbornGuy

    cricket44 – umm. You might want to read that Mandate again. Not only is it there, there have been numerous lawsuits across the country already on it.

  • krasnit

    And who doesn’t have faith? It is my faith that racism is wrong. Should I shut up about that?
    It is my faith that you are wrong…..

  • Mr. Opinionated

    We cannot have a truly substanative dialogue until we have a mutually agreed upon starting point. To some, abortion is simply a medical procedure which falls under a woman’s right to choose – to others, abortion is the malicious murder of a defenseless human being. Without consensus, political parties and strident arguments are meaningless.

  • sky3ler

    Do as I say, not as I do
    Freshman Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), an anti-abortion rights physician, once had a relationship with a patient and tried to persuade her to get an abortion,

  • bnojclinch

    I have enough faith in you to believe that I can cross the intersection without you running the red light and causing a crash (perhaps death). Can you reciprocate? I’m proposing that its ok to impose that value on you in your private life(stopping at the light). Is that ok?

  • bnojclinch

    Our Vice President provides quite a contrast to St Thomas More, Lord Chancellor for Henry VIII king of England, who said just prior to his execution for sticking to his beliefs over what the King commanded; I die the king’s faithful servant, but God’s first.

  • cricket44

    Hospitals are not churches. *Businesses* need to follow federal law. You are right, though, the religious liberties of the employees that organizations would force to follow doctrine that may not be theirs, those liberties are absolutely being infringed.

  • cricket44

    This isn’t a consensus situation. Either a woman is an individual with equal rights to physical autonomy as every other individual or she is “less than” a person.

  • cricket44

    It’s pretty evident that margaret was referencing religious belief so the two replies to her don’t make any sense.

  • Scott Brand

    False dichotomy. What about the rights to physical autonomy of the baby boys and baby girls inside their mother’s womb? What about their body? “Sorry, no right to life for you, baby girl. You need to be killed.”

  • reformthesystem

    That it is morally wrong to misuse men as though they were things in the pursuit of gain or to value them solely for their physical powers is taught in the Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII (May 15, 1891), which also taught such conduct is truly shameful and inhuman. Pope John Paul elaborated that, in setting basic priorities, people are more important than things and, accordingly, labour precedes capital (Laborem Exercens, September 1981). Pope John Paul qualified the views of private ownership in relation to the common use of goods by teaching that the Church “has always understood this right within the broader context of the right common to all to use the goods of the whole creation: the right to private property is subordinated to the right to common use, to the fact that goods are meant for everyone.”

    Catholic social doctrine that teaches just distribution of income and wealth (set forth in those publications as well as Quadragesimo Anno, Centesimus Annus and Caritas in Veritate) are plainly not followed in the private life or in public life by the proponent of attitudes atheist Ayn Rand, namely Congressman Paul Ryan whose economic contentions are not only uncatholic but unchristian.

    Ryan’s implied assertions about public life that would effectively impose on citizens of other faiths or none at all, the religious restrictions he maintains about human reproduction are also decidedly in conflict with the RC Church Council proclamation Dignitatis Humanae (December 7, 1965). Republican candidate Ryan comes across as a hypocrite.

  • cricket44

    There is one person in the equation and that is the woman. A zygote/embryo/fetus has the potential to become a person. But it’s a moot point. Because no person has the right to use another person’s body to survive, against the will of that other person.

  • Scott Brand

    Life begins at fertilization, where the child containing 46 chromosomes and all the genetic material of an adult human. So there are very much two people in the equation, to disregard the child in his/her mother’s womb is a grave oversight.

  • oldasdirt

    No person has the right to kill an innocent person to save themselves.

  • cricket44

    If I throw ingredients in a bowl…it isn’t cake. Gestation is a 40 week process. The woman has rights that do not disappear upon the instance of a fertilized egg. Every pregnancy carries risk. Every single one. There is ZERO right to force someone to continue a situation of risk against their will.

    Either the woman is a person with complete rights or she is little more than a brood mare.

  • cricket44

    Scott, I can throw ingredients into a bowl…but it isn’t cake. Gestation is a 40 week process. It is a z/e/f in the womb, not a child and the woman’s individual rights do not disappear upon the instance of a fertilized egg.

    Either women have the same rights to physical autonomy as every other individual or they are little more than brood mares.

    Oldasdirt, if someone is living inside of you, you have the right to remove them.

  • bnojclinch

    If we can’t agree on what a human life is or when it begins based on scientific data. If we can’t agree that a choice to take a life is wrong, then whats the point of all this other election debate stuff. Why remain united in any way? What is this whole thing all about anyhow? Why should I be forced to support killing innocent, defensless baby in the womb. No thanks USA. I am an American but I didn’t sign up for this. The real war is on the men and women who buy all this stuff. They are slaves to idiocracy.

    Oh yeah. Performance enhancing drugs. Chemical Weapons. How about those steroid-hormones none as oral contraceptives that millions take without a clue what is in them what they do or the long term effects on their bodies. Slavery anyone.? Think you are free?

  • cricket44

    Apologies for the double post…I got WaPo’d

  • R. Zanoni

    Dear Mr. President

    If anyone deserves to be tired, near burn-out, than it’s you.
    But, please, be aware of the honourful, great job you do for
    mankind! Please be aware of the worldwide disaster, if the
    wrong side wins the election campaign! The economic and financial
    deregulation propagated by this side, combined with a total social
    desolidarisation, will signal and trigger the ruin of the western
    civilisation. This process is in an alarmingly advanced stage also
    in Europe. Social desolidarisation as we increasingly experience
    it in our days, was the end of every high culture historically. In
    the world of the wrong new president, two thirds of mankind will
    be condemned to a subhuman state of either starvation or slavery.
    In this future without huamn rights, we will either be oligarchs or

    Please, mister president, don’t let us go down to hell faster than
    necessary. More than half of the US population should be prone to
    this your magnificant goal!

  • cricket44

    Why did we outlaw rape? I mean, it’s not like a woman has the right to decide what happens to and within her own body…according to you.