Catherine Hadro writes from Washington, D.C. She is the host and managing editor of “EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.”
President Biden cannot claim to be both a faithful Catholic and an abortion champion. He cannot have it both ways.
President Joe Biden’s actions on abortion within his first 100 days follow a predictable pattern for recent Democratic presidents, but directly counter the Catholic Church’s teachings on life.
The Biden administration has worked at breakneck speed to rescind previous pro-life protections and enact aggressive abortion policies – moves applauded by Planned Parenthood and mourned by the Catholic faithful in America; the second Catholic U.S. president has directly opposed the U.S. Bishops’ calls to protect the unborn.
It was during only his second full day as president, on January 22, Biden released a statement celebrating the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. That is the 1973 Supreme Court ruling responsible for more than 60 million unborn deaths to abortion. Then on January 28, just over one week after his inauguration, the Biden-Harris administration issued an executive order repealing the Trump administration’s Global Protect Life policy. This new order effectively forces American taxpayers to fund groups that promote abortion overseas.
As the Biden-Harris team began filling out their Cabinet, they expanded from pro-abortion orders to pro-abortion personnel. After being confirmed Secretary of State, Antony Blinken was quick to announce that he viewed abortion, often veiled under the term “reproductive rights”, as human rights. Shalanda Young, who is now the confirmed Deputy OMB Director, characterized abortion as “racial justice.”
But HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, a fellow Catholic, is the most concerning Cabinet official when it comes to the life issue.
Becerra was viewed as a worst-case-scenario appointment for the nation’s largest health agency, as he has a contentious history with pro-lifers. During his time as California attorney general, Becerra faced off against pro-life pregnancy care centers and the Little Sisters of the Poor at the Supreme Court. He lost both cases. During his Senate confirmation hearings for HHS Secretary, Becerra dodged questions over his exact abortion stance, even refusing to answer whether he would support any limit on the gruesome procedure. But once confirmed, Secretary Becerra moved quickly to advance the administration’s goals.
The very day Becerra was confirmed in March, the HHS department announced it planned to rewrite new rules for the Title X federal family planning program. These new rules would overturn the Protect Life Rule and once again allow Title X dollars to go to groups that perform or promote abortions. The Biden-Harris abortion agenda continued to predictably unfold just as the abortion lobby would have hoped for, and just as pro-lifers feared that it would.
But what makes the first 100 days of this administration all the more egregious — and frankly, all the more scandalous — is the fact that President Biden is not just another pro-abortion president. He is only the second Catholic president in U.S. history and therefore Catholic Americans, such as myself, have a higher bar for what they expect from him and his administration.
Within the 2020 Democratic presidential field, Joe Biden was largely seen as the most moderate leading candidate on the abortion issue. In fact, throughout his long political career, Biden made statements on abortion that sounded like something you’d hear at a pro-life conference. During a 2006 interview, for example, the former vice president said, “I do not view abortion as a choice and a right. I think it’s always a tragedy.”
The Catholic politician also long supported the Hyde amendment, which blocks taxpayer dollars from funding abortions. It became unclear where exactly he stood on the issue early in his 2020 presidential campaign, as he flip-flopped multiple times in 2019. At one point, the Biden campaign reiterated his support for Hyde and he faced quick backlash from the abortion lobby. NARAL slammed Biden, saying, “Differentiating himself from the field this will way will not earn Joe Biden any political points.” Being the good soldier he is for the abortion lobby and the Democratic Party, Biden was quick to change his mind and stated he wanted to repeal the very amendment he supported for more than 40 years.
Perhaps the Biden-Harris administration’s actions on abortion right out of the gate are his attempt to assuage the abortion lobby, to reassure them that he’s on their side. But President Biden cannot claim to be both a faithful Catholic and an abortion champion. He cannot have it both ways.
On the evening of President Biden’s inauguration, during what was his administration’s first press briefing, EWTN News Nightly’s White House correspondent Owen Jensen asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki about the president’s intended action on the pro-life Mexico City Policy. Psaki responded that Biden “is a devout Catholic and somebody who attends church regularly.” While being devoted to a Church that clearly states abortion “is gravely contrary to the moral law” should signal support for the pro-life policy, the Biden administration rescinded the Mexico City Policy eight days later.
Early executive actions on abortion have come to be expected from pro-abortion Democratic presidents. But we the Catholic faithful must demand better from only our second Catholic president, from a man who has openly grappled with the life issue, from a regular Church attendee who has stated that abortion is a “always a tragedy.” Our president is in a unique, rare, and powerful position that truly carries weight and equips him to help put an end to this tragedy. He should use that power.
What is our faith if it does not infuse into our work? What is power if it is not used to protect our most vulnerable? The case of President Joe Biden’s first 100 days is one of great scandal regarding the abortion issue. In Biden’s declared battle for the soul of our nation, let us pray he remembers to care for his own as well.