Top abortion activists: Joe Biden is too pro-life to be president
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - As rumors swirl that Joe Biden is gearing up for a presidential run, and that he himself leaked a story about his dying son urging him to run for president, the vice president is facing criticism from the abortion industry that he is not committed enough to their "set of values."
A spate of news stories have highlighted Biden's alleged moderation on the abortion issue. In Slate, Michelle Goldberg wrote of Biden's "decidedly lukewarm record on reproductive rights." Mother Jones magazine likewise warns that the vice president sometimes hews "to his Catholic faith and moralizing against all abortions."
“There have been some clutch moments where he hasn’t been with us,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue told Slate. During a time that she says is characterized by an assault on "women’s autonomy generally, that makes me a little nervous.”
Some of the positions abortion activists are concerned about came to light in 2012, as the Obama administration blasted Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for holding "extreme" views - the same views Biden himself held at some points in his career.
In 1982, Biden voted for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, offered by Orrin Hatch, which would have allowed states to restrict abortion. He also voted for the partial birth abortion ban and in favor of the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA) - unlike Barack Obama.
But Biden is far from a pro-life candidate. In his last presidential run, he affirmed, "I strongly support Roe v. Wade" and implied that supporting the "right to privacy" would be a litmus test for his Supreme Court nominees.
As a senator, Biden voted against making it a crime to transport a minor across state lines to get an abortion - although such abortions are often used to cover up sexual abuse. He voted against parental notification laws, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and against a law banning human cloning. He also voted to allow abortions on military bases and to federally fund embryonic stem cell research.
At times, he earned a zero percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee.
The NRLC's Douglas Johnson said that it is wrong to imply that Biden was "ever a solid, consistent supporter of the pro-life agenda."
Biden, who regularly touts his Catholic faith, has said his religion makes voting on abortion "hard." He told America magazine last month that he was "prepared to accept as a matter of faith" that "at the moment of conception there's human life and being. But what I'm not prepared to do is to impose" a "precise" definition into legislation.
Morally, "abortion is always wrong," he said.
The notion that abortion might be morally illicit disturbed the abortion industry.
“Right now, in this moment in time, I need to know that I have a shared set of values with the leader of this country,” Hogue told Slate. “I can’t in full confidence say, 'Yes, [Biden] does.'"
The abortion industry raised similar objections when Al Gore considered choosing former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana as his running mate in 2000. Because Bayh had voted for a partial birth abortion ban - his one pro-life vote out of five votes on abortion - the then-president of the National Organization for Women Patrician Ireland said, "there would be a decided lack of interest in campaigning for him and getting out the vote."
However, some in her party say that insisting on a political orthodoxy on abortion has hurt the Democratic Party.
"It is the shortsightedness, intolerance and an abortion litmus test that has cost Democrats 910 legislative seats, 11 governorships and 30 state legislative chambers in just three election cycles," Democrats for Life Executive Director Kristen Day told LifeSiteNews.
She estimates that there are "21 million pro-life Democrats waiting for the opportunity to support a pro-life Democratic candidate."
"Instead of criticizing Vice President Biden’s position on the sanctity of the unborn, maybe people should look at the depressing state of the Democratic Party and recognize diversity and tolerance should start at home -- with pro-life Democratic voters who agree on 95 percent of issues championed by the party," she told LifeSiteNews.
For his part, Biden told America magazine that there is "absolutely, positively" room for pro-life Democrats in his party. "And that's been my position for as long as I've been engaged" in politics.
But that doesn't mean he is one.
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Biden and all four of the major declared Democratic presidential candidates - Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, and Jim Webb - strongly support abortion-on-demand. Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, addressed the last Democratic National Convention, and the 2012 Democratic Party platform called for taxpayer-financed abortions through all nine months of pregnancy.
The last pro-life Democrat to seek the presidential nomination was Reuben Askew in 1984. The last pro-life Democrat to be on a national ticket was Sargent Shriver, in 1972.