Vice President Biden in an interview with a Jesuit publication says that he accepts Catholic doctrine that abortion is “always wrong.”
Biden, who is publicly struggling with whether to run for the White House, is pro-abortion rights, and he said there’s a debate among Catholics over that issue.
“Even – I don’t want to start a theological discussion, I’ll get in trouble, it’s above my pay grade, although it’s my avocation, but there’s, you know, there’s even been disagreement in our church, not that – abortion is always wrong, but there’s been debate, and so, there’s, for me, at a point where the church makes a judgment, as we Catholics call fide doctrine, said, this is what our doctrine is,” Biden said in an interview with America published on Monday.
Biden also said that he believes life begins at conception.
“I’m prepared to accept that at the moment of conception there’s human life and being, but I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing, non-God-fearing people that have a different view,” he said.
He added that there is room in the Democratic Party for people who believe abortion should be illegal.
“Absolutely, positively,” he said. “And that’s been my position for as long as I’ve been engaged.”
Biden described being pro-abortion-rights as “hard” as a practicing Catholic.
“It has been. It has been hard, in one sense, because I’m prepared to accept de fide doctrine on a whole range of issues as a Catholic, even though, as you know, Aquinas argued about, in Summa Theologica, about human life and being, when it occurs,” Biden said.
Planned Parenthood called the vice president a "champion of women's health in America" in a statement released on Wednesday.
"Questions about when life begins are personal -- for some it's based on faith, for others it's a matter of science or medicine," Planned Parenthood vice president of communications Eric Ferraro said. "Vice President Biden understands that politicians aren't the experts. He understands that Americans support a woman's access to safe and legal abortion, and he legislates based on the needs of the people he represents."
Biden’s comments come as Pope Francis visits Washington, and as the prospect for a government shutdown has increased because of conservative demands that a funding bill not include money for Planned Parenthood because of abortion.
While Biden has yet to decide whether to run for the White House, a poll released by Bloomberg Politics showed him trialing front-runner Hillary Clinton by just 8 points and besting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by 1 point.
-Updated 3:43 p.m.