President Biden cited both U.S. Catholic bishops and Pope Francis in defense of federally funded abortions, despite both the bishops’ and the pontiff’s consistent and vocal opposition to the practice.
Biden, a devout Catholic, fielded questions from the press outside the White House on Monday, during which a reporter grilled the president on the continued complaints of Catholic leadership regarding abortion funding.
“Catholic bishops are demanding that federal tax dollars not fund abortions,” a reporter said to Biden outside the White House on Monday.
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President Biden talks to reporters after returning to the White House on Jan. 30, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
“No, they are not all doing that, nor is the pope doing that,” Biden replied.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) did, in fact, publish a letter Friday to the House of Representatives and the Senate specifically calling for end of taxpayer funding for abortion services.
“Protecting taxpayers from being forced to pay for abortion in violation of their conscience is a principle that has enjoyed historically broad support among Americans, regardless of their otherwise passionately divided views on the topic. It has also been life-saving,” wrote Diocese of Arlington’s Bishop Michael Burbidge, head of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Burbidge continued in the letter, “Rather than funding abortion, Congress can better serve the common good by prioritizing policies that comprehensively assist women, children, and families in need in ways that will not only encourage childbirth but make it easier to welcome and raise a new child.”
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Pope Francis holds his homily during a Mass on the Solemnity of the Epiphany at St. Peter’s Basilica on Jan. 6, 2022, in Vatican City.
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Additionally, Pope Francis has been a strict opponent of abortion in all cases. The pontiff has compared abortion to “hiring a hitman” and said humanity should “leave killing to the animals.”
Last year, Pope Francis was interviewed by Univision and was questioned about Biden’s seemingly contradictory beliefs.
When asked about Biden — a self-professed “devout Catholic” who supports blanket legalization of abortion on the federal level — the pope dismissed the president as incomprehensible.
“I leave it to [President Biden’s] conscience and that he speaks to his bishop, his pastor, his parish priest about that incoherence,” the pope remarked in the 2022 interview.
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Biden’s reference to the pope in defense of taxpayer-funded abortion services caused outrage among Catholics, with some demanding a formal correction be issued.
“Mr. Biden can’t be allowed to twist the words of Pope Francis in this way,” wrote Diocese of Tyler Bishop Joseph Strickland. “I implore the Vatican press office to emphatically clarify that Pope Francis rightly calls abortion murder. It is time to denounce Biden’s fake Catholicism.”