This is what the second Catholic president of the United States had to say about the Texas decision to restrict abortion in the state.
“Rather than use its supreme authority to ensure justice could be fairly sought, the highest court of our land will allow millions of women in Texas in need of critical reproductive care to suffer while courts sift through procedural complexities,” said President Biden, 78.
He promised a “whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision . . . to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions”. He denounced the “bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties” in Texas and said his administration would “protect and defend” Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision of the Supreme Court that enabled the current abortion laws to be enacted.
No nuance. No suggestion that there are two lives at stake here. No reluctance, nothing to say even that abortion is abhorrent but may be preferable to illegal abortions. No qualifications. No recognition of the concept of foetal rights, even if in his judgment they are subordinate to the mother’s. Instead we get weaselly phrases about “critical reproductive healthcare” when what we are talking about is preventing reproduction by ending the life of the foetus. Abortion is indeed a fraught moral topic but in the view of a man who is a professing Catholic, there is no complexity, no nuance, just the totemic defence of Roe v Wade (actually the woman in that case subsequently regretted her decision – I met her – but she had served her purpose for the movement and was cast aside).
President Biden should not be barred from communion for his views or his actions in respect of abortion – it would be strange to penalise him, but not those who approved the bombing of Hiroshima – but the Catholic bishops of the US should point out, in blunt language, where he’s gone wrong.
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