President Biden on Friday reversed his previous position and said he does not believe life begins at conception.
The president also said the Justice Department is looking into ways it can limit or block Texas' new heartbeat abortion ban.
Biden, who is Catholic, made the remarks after being asked if his administration would attempt to block the law on the federal level.
"I … continue to be a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade," Biden said.
The Texas law prohibits abortion if a doctor detects a heartbeat, which typically occurs around six weeks of pregnancy. The law also allows citizens to sue abortion doctors and anyone else who violates the law.
The law, Biden said, seems "almost un-American."
"I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception and all," Biden said. "I respect that. [I] don't agree, but I respect that. I'm not going to impose that on people."
During the 2012 vice presidential debate with then-Rep. Paul Ryan, Biden said he believed life begins at conception – which is the teaching of the Catholic Church.
"Life begins at conception – that's the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life," Biden said, according to Catholic News Agency. "But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman."
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, bemoaned Biden's trajectory on the issue of abortion, noting that Biden also formerly opposed taxpayer funding of abortion and even said he was "personally opposed to abortion."
Mohler asserted that Biden changed his positions on abortion due to "blatant political expediency." The Democratic Party platform supports Roe and the taxpayer funding of abortion. Mohler made the comments on his podcast, The Briefing.
"A human person made in God's image is ... worthy of our defense – indeed, demands our defense," Mohler said.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said Monday the Justice Department is exploring "all options to challenge" the Texas law. Further, Garland said the Justice Department will "protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services." Garland referenced a 1994 federal law, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
"The department will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack," Garland said. "We have reached out to U.S. Attorneys' Offices and FBI field offices in Texas and across the country to discuss our enforcement authorities."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.