By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
Washington (CNN) – It was the first-ever debate between two Roman Catholics vying for a White House perch, and in Thursday’s face-off between Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, the question was put plainly: How does your faith shape your position on abortion?
It’s one of the most divisive questions in American politics, and the query from debate moderator Martha Raddatz, asked near the end of the sole vice presidential debate, set the table for some of the night’s most personal and poignant moments.
“I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith,” said Ryan. “Our faith informs us in everything we do.”
“My religion defines who I am,” said Biden. “I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life.”
But the two men took very different tacks on applying their faith to the abortion issue. Ryan said his religion – combined with “reason and science” – led him to oppose legalized abortion, and that “the policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.”
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Ryan recalled when he and his wife, Janna, saw the ultrasound of their firstborn child, Liza. “We saw that heartbeat – a little baby was in the shape of a bean,” he said, noting that they still called their daughter “Bean” and saying he believes that “life begins at conception.”
“With respect to abortion, the Democratic Party used to say they wanted it to be safe, legal and rare,” Ryan continued. “Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding … that to me is pretty extreme.”
Biden said he accepted his church’s anti-abortion position – “life begins at conception in the church’s judgment” – but that he refused to impose that view on “equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews.”
“The next president will get one or two Supreme Court nominees,” Biden said. “That’s how close Roe v. Wade is. … Do you think (Romney is) likely to appoint someone like Scalia or someone else on the court far right that would outlaw abortion? I suspect that would happen.”
Both men also used the question on abortion and Roman Catholicism to pivot to other issues, with Ryan saying the Obama White House is “infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals” presumably because of a new rule requiring insurers to provide free contraception coverage for virtually all American employees.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
Before answering the abortion question, Biden said his Catholicism has “informed my social doctrine … about taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help.”
The Obama campaign and liberal Catholic groups used the debate to organize Catholic watch parties and to argue that Ryan’s proposed budget in the House of Representative ran counter to Catholic values.
About one in four American voters is Catholic, though there is such a broad range in Catholic political concerns and voting habits that many political experts reject the notion of a cohesive Catholic bloc.
Catholics have voted with the winning presidential candidate in every election since the early 1990s.
Obama camp, liberal groups use VP debate to organize Catholic voters
In 2008, Obama beat John McCain among Catholics by 54% to 45%. In 2004, John Kerry – the first Catholic nominee for president since John F. Kennedy – lost the Catholic vote to George W. Bush, provoking Democrats to take Catholic outreach more seriously.
Both major parties had America’s highest-profile Catholic cleric, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, give the closing prayer at their recent political conventions.
Romney/Ryan are pi'mps, true followers of Satan ism, criminal hypocrisy, denier of abortion rights to hoo'ker mothers, criminal self centered, secular s. Deny abortion to hoo'kers and live with HARAMEE MUHAMMEDS.
You have to give both men credit that they seemed to answer honetly. Now its up tot he voters to align themselves with which viewpoint they agree more with.
Their word's are full of hinduism, infidelity to truth absolute GOD, just like hindu Pharisees, criminal secular's of the past.
and, their word's are full of my mothers hoo'kers, infidelity to truth absolute GOD, just like Islam ism, criminal secular's of the past.
"both men credit that they seemed to answer honestly"
Biden – I believe life begins at conception but I don't believe I can hold anyone else to my religious standard.
Ryan – -cough- I don't think unelected judges should be able to overturn the will of democraticly decided laws and rules decided upon by the people, democratily... now what was the question again?
Biden answered honestly, Ryan dodged and weaved trying not to upset anyone whilst really upsetting everyone.
Actually, no he wouldn't:
the Romney/Ryan position is very clear: abortion should be made illegal through new laws, except in cases of ra pe, in cest or the health of the mother is endangered.
Read the platform
what about hoo'kers? My mother was denied her rights and here I am, living in UN Headquarter.
Hey, deacon blues is back to enlighten us on the god myth hypothesis.
Rmoney has been running for president for about 10 years now. His position has changed so much it is impossible to pin him down on exactly where he stands.
Today it might be what you just said, but who knows about tommro with him?
The overall position within the Repub party these days is abortion should be illegal in any form for any reason.
They want to make certain types of controceptive illegal, like the IUD, as well.
And if they can't get it done with a law, they will just start shooting people in abortion clinics to prove how wrong murder is.
Than why does he believe in hindu filthy reason over truth absolute GOD, no different than to practice bigamy.
"the Romney/Ryan position is very clear: abortion should be made illegal through new laws"
... so when he said there is no legislation planned in that context that he knows of, what did he mean? or is it that romney does not even know what he wants to pass as laws if he is elected? or does he not even know what his own minions plans to do if he gets elected?
Both prospects are bad for the country dude.. time to find a new masters to suckup
Not a single one of Romney's positions are clear. He and Ryan apparently haven't had a chance to agree on their abortion stance – if Ryan goes with the apparent 'exceptions are ok', he completely violates his own beliefs. How far is he willing to whore himself out to get to the white house?
hinduism, ignorance of a hindu, stupid by birth.
what is the position of Hindu filthy Romney/Ryan for hoo'kers, denier of truth absolute GOD?
"so when he said there is no legislation planned in that context that he knows of, what did he mean?"
What he meant was "He" has no plan to introduce legislation that would reverse Roe vs Wade, but he also said he would sign a bill doing just that IF one was put on his desk to sign. I think that's pretty clear then, that he may not have a specific plan to write the bill, but he's more than willing to sign the dozen or so bill's that have been put up recently by his cohorts such as the personhood amendment that would not only effectivly negate Roe vs Wade but ban many types of birth control as well.
Romney / Ryan = Police State for inside Womens Bodies.
Why Arabs deny a right of abortion for hoo'kers? I am stuck with ten HARAMEE Muhammads. My house looks like UN headquarter.
Look whos back?
The creepy fundie who writes unintelligible gibberish about hindus.
All fundies are creepy, but you are at the head of the creepy class.
Cry baby cry, or give up hinduism, denial of truth absolute GOD for peace, Islam in life.
my life begin at conception, but died soon after I found out there were ten HARAMEES before me. All different colors. Denier of abortion, goons, self-centered Mullahs made me to live with illegitimate brothers. I HATE TRUTH ABSOLUTE, IT SUCKS.
why I have to live with rapists of my mother? I am stuck with ten HARAMEE brothers.
why truth absolute GOD made me a Muslim? I am stuck with illegitimate HARAMEE brothers of all different colors. My life is wasted because my mother was denied abortion.
I have ten brothers, all HARAMEES. My mother was denied abortion privileges by filthy, self-centered goons of my Uncle, my father. I am stuck with black, white, yellow, brown Muhammads. Why?
hinduism, absurdity of a hindu, ignorant.
because your mother was a hoowa, she did it so you can have a better life. Enjoy your life son. Don't throw it away.
"Abortions for all…" (people boo)
"Ok… Ok, Abortions for none!"(people boo)
"Fine… Abortions for some… Miniature American flags for others!" (people cheer)
.- Kodos the Alien, The Simpsons
Abort hinduism, denial of truth absolute GOD, for peace, Islam on earth.
I always wonder if the often highly educated, wealthy people leading the country actually believe in any of the biblical bs they will spew out or if it's just a ploy to get votes from the manipulatable majority?
religion is a tool to control the masses.
By what measurement do you define 'believe'? There's a big range between everything and nothing and different politicians seem to fall everywhere in that range.
I'm pretty conviced the GOP's platfom is that government of the gullible, for the richest 1%, by the mendacious and delusional should not perish from the earth.
Thy are true follower of hindu Pharisee ism, criminal hypocrisy, believer of nothing and true hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, secular s.
I doubt the vast majority of people in this country who claim to be religious actually believe in it.
Most do it out of fear of being ostraizised, or do it for some kind of personal gain.
That is why religious people don't live a life remotely resembling that of their hero jeebus.
In fact, if jeebus came back today, he would be shunned by the vast majority of the people who claim to love him.
Jeebus, save me from your followers............
It's a lot like a ponzi scheme except that no one can ever ask for their dividend early so no one will ever find out the moneys all gone.
Proceeding to the real issues:
Only for the new members of this blog:
The reality of se-x, abortion, contraception and STD/HIV control: – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-
Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...
The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:
The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill (8.7% ACTUAL failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% ACTUAL failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.
Added information before making your next move:
from the CDC-2006
"Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."
Consumer Reports, January, 2012
"Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-
Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.
"Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)
Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.
The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":
– (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
– (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)
One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)
Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).
How in the world do we get this situation under control? A pill to temporarily eliminate the s-ex drive would be a good start. (Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes, 4/18/2010 described them as anti-desire pills). And teenagers and young adults must be constantly reminded of the dangers of se-xual activity and that oral s-ex, birth control pills, and chast-ity belts are no protection against S-TDs. Might a list of those having a S-TD posted on the Internet help?-Said names would remain until the S-TD has been eliminated with verification by a doctor. Lists of s-exual predators are on-line. Is there a difference between these individuals and those having a ST-D having s-exual relations while infected???
Blastocysticide is not the same as infanticide.
@waitasec - so now we are at the truth, I love it!: better to kill the child then to let them grow up in your very hypothetical "terrible" situation. Where the odds say they won't grow up to be productive members of society, job creaters, and they'll suck off the teat of productive people! (Wait, isn't that a Republican position? Now I'm confused). Well, first off, there's this thing called adoption: maybe you've heard of it. The lines to adopt children in the U.S. are loooong. Yes, even non-white babies. Mama doesn't want the baby, she can give him/her to someone who does; NAY, you say! Much better to permit its destruction! History is rife with cases of people who were abortions waiting to happen, who have contributed more to society than you or I probably ever will. Our criminal justice system is premised on the fact that it is better to let 10 guilty men go free than to imprison 1 innocent man. Yet in your twisted worldview, it is OK to execute X number of babies because some of them may have lives that you arrogantly say are worthless because they might be poor, uneducated, and not live up to your standards (oh, and they'll be dependend on "us", the ruling class). Your positions are built on faulty foundations, I'm afraid.
Abortion and guns are fascinating subjects in American politics. Not many people get abortions and not many people get shot but the ferocity of the opinions voiced is as intense as anything we have ever seen.
What about doctors who are shot for performing abortions?
To Doc. Oh boy!! A whole new issue to argue – abortionistocide. Do you think that word is in the OED?
Quote from Socialcade on Twitter – "Why would bacteria be considered life on Mars, but a heartbeat not considered life on Earth?" In my opinion, considering and carrying out abortion is NO different than First Degree Murder – premeditated killing of another human being.
whos asking you to kill anyone?
if it is against your moral judgement to not have an abortion...don't do it.
So you like parading your idiocy around huh?
Is it murder to kill a fly? A pig? what about a flower? Should I be locked up if I give a bouquet of flowers to my mom for mothers day?
Agreed! Life is life, period.
We should make penicillin illegal!
Yeah, Rob,...except one big huge important detail.... Any life they'd find crawling around on Mars would be existing outside the womb... Any life found inside a human woman's womb doesn't even have a central nervous system until about the 12th week of pregnancy... Until then, it doesn't think, it doesn't feel, and it cannot exist outside the womb... It's not even a fetus yet, it's an embryo... It's not an individual being yet, it's merely an extension of the mother's body that has begun forming additional material as a result of exposure to spermatazoa... Not a human, fully fledged, merely a part of a human, like any of our other organs, with the potential to be fully human evenutally, just like all the other fetuses that God Himself decides the abort through miscarriages 35% of the time or more... And by the way,...God's willing to abort a fetus MUCH later in the game than even our own laws allow... I guess God doesn't mind abortions after all, since He's willing to kill so many infants in the womb each and every day...
to So Crates
let me put this into anther perspective...
"a life that will grow into a fully sentient human being"
focus on "that will grow" it isn't yet...
80% of abortions are done in the 1st trimester.
how convenient is it for the unwanted child to grow in a home where
1. he/she will be poor adding to the problem
a. a failed economy
b. not being taken care of
c. more likely to be abused
d. a statistic
excellent foresight you got there
my uterus is my own. the government should not be allowed to regulate my body. therefore i should be allowed to terminate the organism in my uterus if i choose to. otherwise, i am not truly free. my fists are my own. the government should not be allowed to regulate my body. therefore i should be allowed to ram my fists into my neighbor's face if i choose to. otherwise, i am not truly free.
a woman's opinion should be the only opinion that matters in determining abortion laws, because abortion laws only affect women. a drug dealer's opinion should be the only opinion that matters in determining laws against drug dealing, because drug dealing laws only affect drug dealers.
Is it embarrassing to be as stupid as you are or do you just ignore it?
Do you honestly not see the difference between a woman having control of her own body and you assaulting your neighbor?
It is a question of the right to self determination.
It isn't illegal for you to use your own fists to punch yourself in the face.
Your neighbour is not a part of your body. Your neighbour is not dependent on your internal organs for nourishment. Your neighbout has the capacity for independent thought, choice and movement.
Hitting your neighbour is an infringement of their rights.
As for drug dealing – alcohol is a potent, addictive and harmful drug – yet it is perfectly legal. Government drug dealing is A-OK in that instance.
Personally, I don't think drug USE should be criminalized. Again, it is my right to self-determination. Should I cause harm to others while intoxiated, I should be punished – but it isn't the booze's fault, it is my own.
So what of mothers who make choices while pregnant that directly affects their unborn child's right to self-determination?
Drinking, smoking and poor diet during pregnancy causes demonstrable harm to a developing foetus – yet pregnant women are still free to buy jack daniels, marlboros and as many McNuggets as they can eat.
@Smitty, and the rest of the morons - it is not a religious belief that human life starts at conception, it is a scientific fact. Love how you crucify the far right (also idiotic) fools who attack evolution, say the world is 9k years old, etc., etc., yet blatantly ignore the scientific truth that when an egg is fertilized by a sperm, that act has **scientifically** launched a life that will grow into a fully sentient human being - unless someone "chooses" to execute it. Those are the facts. Now, if you want to argue it's OK to kill one human so that the mother can have a more convenient life, a more economically prosperous life, or for some potentially more valid reasons, then fine - but don't pretend that this is a religious conviction. As the first poster quoted: Why would bacteria be considered life on Mars, but a heartbeat not considered life on Earth?
abortion laws and assault laws both regulate what i can and cannot do with my body. it was an extreme example (obviously) but my point was that the government already regulates what we can and cannot do with our bodies in thousands of ways. so the argument that there should be no laws against abortion b/c it allows government to regulate our bodies is ridiculous.
"it is not a religious belief that human life starts at conception"
Of course it is. Until it is viable outside the uterus, a fetus is hardly distinct from a parasite. OK, it's alive in the same context that bacteria in your colon are alive. Is taking antibiotic medication a sin?
The religious belief is that the fertillized egg is magically inhabited by a soul is simply a matter of theologists being unable to pick another time.
My take as a Catholic is that "life begins at conception" is a specifically religious believe. That is why Catholics should learn why we believe that and why it is the foundation for for a great deal of Catholic thought beyond the simple abortion debate. If you do not own your own life then what can you own?
the only reason abortion is on the table is because there are those who feel they are a part of god's police department...and claim to know gods will, without ever providing any evidence of them having it except for the admitting religious belief AKA an opinion.
and why would god need a police department to begin with...?
i suppose it's because god can't speak for itself.
Honestly,...I think God HAS already weighed in with His opinion on abortion.... He chooses to abort 35% or more of all pregnancies Himself, in the womb, through miscarriages,...LONG after our own laws allow such procedures to take place... God, through miscarriages kills these children as surely as an abortion doctor does,...and He does it all the way up into the final term...
If we are to say God is responsible for the miracle of life, and has a hand in all things that occur naturally, then His hand is bloody and responsible for all those miscarriages as well...
Apparently, God has no problems with abortions whatsoever, therefore since he also gave us free will, he should have no problem with women choosing to have an abortion...
but god's self appointed police department don't see it that way...why...?
the jury is still out on that one...
I still think this opens the door to the IVF discussion... look at all those Christians out there who are fertilizing 4-8 eggs in hopes that one will survive? and seven will die. If the argument is that they are trying to create life (as opposed to terminate one during abortion), their argument is not valid because they say that life begins at conception. But wait, why are they going forward with IVF anyway, because isn't it god's will for them NOT to have children? Then they are going against god's will... wow, I'm so confused with this religious bs
As a Catholic I was taught that God has granted us the right to choose his path or the path of the devil. I agree @waitasec. People here on Earth need to stop playing God's police and let people choose their path just as God had intended.
Your work as a Catholic is incomplete if that is where you stop
the self appointed god police has spoken. all you have is your opinion about what i should do with my body...
your opinion means nothing to me. get used to it.
"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking. If all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed, and why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of what pro-life is.”
– Benedictine Nun, Sister Joan Chittister
Well spoken. I agree!
I agree that was well said. Furthermore me being pro-choice is not the same as pro-abortion. I am against abortion and would not make it an option for myself. However I am for a persons right to choose for themselves.
"Me being pro-choice is not the same as pro-abortion."
Your entire post is contradictory upon itself. Utterly ridiculous. Do yourself a favor, watch a late term abortion video. Then you might develop a spine and real conviction.
It seems to me the Ryan wants to return to the crusades! Sorry,, I thought the dark ages were behind us.
Admit it, you liked the crusades to. They are why the western hemisphere has surpassed the mid-east.
Imposing your religious beliefs as the law represents exactly the opposite of our fundamental freedom. Separation of church and state is supposed to forbid us to implement religious beliefs into law. We are fighting wars overseas in arab nations, to protect their people from religious leaders who impose their religious/personal beliefs on their people, we are supposed to be fighting to protect the rights of those people, yet religious lunatics like Romney/Ryan want to do exactly what we are trying to prevent overseas by turning their religious beliefs into laws that affect people of all religions. When did it become okay to turn one's religious beliefs into law? What happened to the separation of church and state? Are people really going to vote Adolf Romney into office, so that he can create laws that reflect his religious beliefs?
Because is the American Taliban. Willard "speak" will be only truth, until he passes gas and creates a new truth the next day.
Sorry for the incomplete thoughts, accidently clicked post before I finished editing my typos.
Well folks it's been fun but gotta go.... the weekend beckons..... :-)
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.