With a struggling economy and unrest in the Middle East, discussion of social issues has taken a back seat in this election cycle. That is, until this week’s Vice Presidential debate, when moderator Martha Raddatz asked the Candidates to explain their views on abortion and the role that their religious practices have played in this opinion.
As Catholic men, both Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan expressed the personal belief that life begins at conception; the sole difference being that Biden does not want to force his personal, religious ideology on the American public, while Ryan does. At one point Ryan attempted to pass his view off as not exclusively the product of religion, but stemming from “science and reason.” His evidence being an anecdote about seeing an ultrasound of his oldest child who was shaped as a bean; yet seemed to have forgotten to mention any actual “science” or “reason.”
The Congressman then held himself to a double standard, explaining that if he were to be elected Vice President, he would infringe on the constitutionally afforded right to freedom of religion, while simultaneously accusing the Obama administration of doing just that. He explained that a Romney/ Ryan White House would hold an anti-choice position (except in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother), while condemning the Affordable Care Act for “assaulting” religious institutions, without of course, any specifics. However, Biden was able to make it perfectly clear that this was a complete falsehood, and that no religious enterprise is forced to “refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide.”
Ryan then went on to explain that, “unelected judges should not make this decision,” referring to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe V. Wade, that laws prohibiting abortion violate the Constitution’s Due Process Clause. Ryan seems to have also forgotten that the Supreme Court did not create the Constitution and that its role is not to serve as lawmakers, but rather ensure that all government action abides by this document through “science and reason,” not religious ideology.
While no one can deny that the economy and national security are of the utmost importance in November’s election, we must not forget that social justice is also at stake.
*The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.