Joe Biden told Meet the Press yesterday that he was “prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at conception,” a strange statement with a number of implications — most of them ugly and a few monstrous. Kate Phillips at the New York Times puts this in its proper perspective; Biden faces a suddenly popular foe in Sarah Palin, and has to find ways to curtail her advantage. Biden understands that Palin’s own commitment to life makes it difficult to enter into an abortion debate with her, and perhaps wants to eliminate that as a topic:
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for vice president, departed Sunday from party doctrine on abortion rights, declaring that as a Catholic, he believes life begins at conception.
While Mr. Biden’s views may not be new to Democrats in his circle, his comments, in an interview on “Meet the Press” on NBC, came at a time when his party is confronted with a new face: Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, whose anti-abortion stance and decision to give birth just five months ago to a baby with Down syndrome have revved up the conservative base of her party.
In the interview Sunday, Mr. Biden tried to walk the line between the staunch abortion-rights advocates in his party and his own religious beliefs. While he said he did not often talk about his faith, he said of those who disagree with him: “They believe in their faith and they believe in human life, and they have differing views as to when life — I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception.”
Since he’s talking about faith, he should be a little more than “prepared to accept” that view. As a Catholic, it’s a fundamental tenet of his religion, whether he acknowledges it or not. Biden, though, has made this concession before, on the same show in 2007. And that makes his stances on abortion very, very troubling.
Once someone decides that life begins at conception, how one treats that life says volumes about them. Biden, who does not have a great record with NARAL — he has a 36% lifetime rating and generates little enthusiasm from them as Barack Obama’s running mate — nevertheless agrees with Roe and votes to protect abortion rights in many cases. If Biden didn’t believe that life begins at conception, then that would at least make some sense. Abortion wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t kill a unique human life.
However, if Biden believes it does, then what does that say about the value he places on human life? Or for anything else other than Biden’s own self? It strongly suggests that Biden values his political career much more. In his record, he talks about subordinating this belief to his “political responsibilities”. Well, ethics are a personal belief as well, and no one dies when they get bent or broken. How much does he value his “political responsibilities” over those?
Nancy Pelosi tries deluding herself over the question of life; Biden just doesn’t give a damn. Which is worse?
Update: Michelle notices the same point, and wonders how Biden can live with his support of cold-blooded murder.