President Biden delivered a broadside Friday against the controversial Texas anti-abortion law, at one point saying that he did not agree with the proposition that human life begins at conception.
However, Biden struck a different note while he was vice president, telling an interviewer in 2015, “I’m prepared to accept that the moment of conception is a human life and being.”
The Supreme Court declined earlier this week to block the Texas law — which prohibits women from getting an abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat and allows private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.” Fetal heartbeats are generally detected six weeks after conception, before most women know they are pregnant.
On Friday, Biden argued the new law “sort of creates a vigilante system where people get rewards” for pursuing court cases against doctors or abortion clinics.
“I respect people who think that — who don’t support Roe v. Wade; I respect their views,” the president added. “I respect them — they — those who believe life begins at the moment of conception and all. I respect that. Don’t agree, but I respect that. I’m not going to impose that on people.”
While the latter part of Biden’s statement tracked with what he told Malone in 2015, the then-vice president also said he was “prepared” to accept the Catholic Church’s doctrine on abortion as “de fide,” or an essential part of the faith.
“I’m prepared to accept as a matter of faith, my wife and I, my family, the issue of abortion,” he said. “What I’m not prepared to do is impose a rigid view – precise view, rigid sounds pejorative, a precise view that is born out of my faith, on other people who are equally God-fearing, equally as committed to life, equally as committed to the sanctity of life.
“And I’m prepared to accept that the moment of conception is a human life and being,” Biden went on. “But I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing, non-God-fearing people that have a different view.”
Biden sounded less sure about the issue in a 2007 interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“I am prepared to accept my church’s view. I think it’s a tough one. I have to accept that on faith,” the then-senator from Delaware told moderator Tim Russert. “That is a tough, tough decision to me. But there is a point relatively soon where viability—it’s clear to me when there’s viability, meaning the ability to survive outside the womb, that I don’t have any doubt.”
Soon after announcing his run for president in 2019, Biden reversed his long-standing support of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds as payment for abortions.
“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without the access to care they need, and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right,” he said at the time.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki snapped at a male reporter for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) who asked: “Why does the president support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?”
After Psaki initially responded that Biden believes “it’s a woman’s right, it’s a woman’s body and it’s her choice,” reporter Owen Jensen asked: “Who does he believe then should look out for the unborn child?”
“He believes that it’s up to a woman to make those decisions, and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor,” Psaki shot back. “I know you’ve never faced those choices nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices this is an incredibly difficult thing. The president believes that right should be respected.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment from The Post Friday evening.