A reporter asked President Biden Wednesday why he supports abortion rights in spite of his Catholic faith.
"As a Catholic, why do you support abortion, as a Catholic, defying church teachings?" a reporter asked Biden outside the White House. As the question was asked, First Lady Jill Biden came over to take his hand and guide him away from reporters.
"I don't want to get in a debate with you on theology, but you know, well anyway, I'm not going to make a judgement for other people," Biden said, as the reporter jumped in again saying, "but you're Catholic," before being drowned out by other questions. Biden had an ash on his head in observation of Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Christian holy season of Lent leading up to Easter Sunday.
During the president's State of the Union address, he called for protecting women's rights and said the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion was under attack.
"If we want to go forward—not backward—we must protect access to health care. Preserve a woman’s right to choose. And let’s continue to advance maternal health care in America," Biden said.
During a meeting with Pope Francis, Biden said the Pope told him to continue receiving communion. Several priests had criticized the president for taking communion because of his stance on abortion.
Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin called on Francis to deny the president communion during his meeting.
"Dear Pope Francis, You have boldly stated that abortion is ‘murder,’" Tobin said. "Please challenge President Biden on this critical issue. His persistent support of abortion is an embarrassment for the Church and a scandal to the world. Thank you."
"We just talked about the fact that he was happy I'm a good Catholic," Biden said. "And I should keep receiving communion."
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, which challenges Roe. v. Wade. The Mississippi law in question bans abortion after 15 weeks. A Fox News poll from September found that 65% of Americans want to keep Roe v. Wade in place.
Biden addressed the crisis in Ukraine, rising inflation, the border and more during his hour-long State of the Union address.