Politics Biden to Meet with Pope Francis Amid U.S. Abortion Rights Fight
The Supreme Court's new term has officially started and the future of abortion rights are on the line
It's the first time in almost 30 years that a major abortion case will come before the Supreme Court.The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, concerns a Mississippi law that ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality.
U.S. Presidentand first lady are set to kick off their upcoming European diplomatic trip with a visit to the Vatican and a meeting with , the White House said on Thursday.
The news comes as Biden, who is Catholic and regularly attends church, has faced growing backlash from some Catholics over his support for abortion rights. He has called for Congress to pass legislation to protect reproductive rights as the conservative-tilted U.S.weighs new state laws meant to challenge the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that has protected abortion access for nearly five decades.
'Above the partisan divide'? Supreme Court begins heated new term amid slipping support
Criticism of the Supreme Court, particularly from the left, has prompted four justices to speak out publicly in recent days to defend the high court.With abortion, gun rights and religion featured prominently on the docket in coming weeks, the high court is diving into culture war controversies as several of the justices have fanned out in recent weeks to publicly defend against criticism on the left, sinking approval ratings and a bevy of proposed structural changes.
The U.S. House advanced the legislation last month, but it hasn't been taken up in the.
Some conservative Catholic leaders have even called for Biden to be denied communion over his support for abortion rights protections.
But the pope has rejected that push, even as he considers abortion "murder."
"Communion is not a prize for the perfect," he told reporters last month. "Communion is a gift, the presence of Jesus and his church."
During an anti-abortion rights conference in Rome in 2019, Pope Francis compared terminating a pregnancy to hiring a hitman.
"Is it licit to eliminate a human life to solve a problem?" he told the audience. "Is it licit to hire a hitman to solve a problem?"
The White House has described Biden's October 29 meeting with the pope, which is not the first time the two have met, as an effort to promote human rights and discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and climate crisis.
Judge orders Texas to suspend new law banning most abortions
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge ordered Texas to suspend the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., calling it an “offensive deprivation" of a constitutional right by banning most abortions in the nation's second-most populous state since September. The order Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman is the first legal blow to the Texas law known as Senate Bill 8, which until now had withstood a wave of early challenges. In the weeks since the restrictions took effect, Texas abortion providers say the impact has been “exactly what we feared.
"They will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor," White House press secretarytold reporters in a statement Thursday.
The Vatican meeting will take place ahead of Biden's trip to Rome for the G20 Leaders' Summit on October 30 and 31—the second foreign trip of Biden's presidency. After Italy, Biden will travel to Glasgow, Scotland, for the' climate change summit, known as the COP26. Biden will be there on November 1 and 2.
Last week, Pope Francis met with U.S. House Speaker, a California Democrat who is Catholic and also supports abortion rights. On , Pelosi called the meeting "a spiritual, personal and official honor."
"His Holiness's leadership is a source of joy and hope for Catholics and for all people, challenging each of us to be good stewards of God's creation, to act on climate, to embrace the refugee, the immigrant and the poor, and to recognize the dignity and divinity in everyone," she wrote.
Pope to lawmakers: Climate change requires quick consensus
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Saturday called on lawmakers worldwide to overcome “the narrow confines” of partisan politics to quickly reach consensus on fighting climate change. The pope addressed parliamentarians who were in Rome for a preparatory meeting before the U.N's annual climate conference, which begins in Glasgow, Scotland, on Oct. 31. Francis referred to a joint appeal he and other religious leaders signed this week that calls for governments to commit to ambitious goals at the U.N. conference, which experts consider a critical opportunity to tackle the threat of global warming.
But Pelosi also has faced backlash, including from San Francisco's archbishop, who likened abortion to "child sacrifice" in a recent statement.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone urged Catholics to "pray and fast for members ofto do the right thing and keep this atrocity from being enacted in the law." He also called the proposal is "surely the type of legislation one would expect from a devout Satanist, not a devout Catholic."
The legislation under consideration in Congress would effectively ensure the right to abortion access across the country, after Texas and other largely GOP-controlled states approve measures meant to chip away at the Roe v. Wade protections. Texas' law bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected—about six weeks into a pregnancy—and creates a $10,000 reward for people who report anyone who aids an illegal abortion.
Abortion rights advocates argue the law is too restrictive, while lawmakers who oppose abortion access have sought to replicate it in other states.
"My administration is deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly five decades ago and will protect and defend that right," Biden vowed in a statement last month.
Pope meets Pelosi as abortion debate rages back home
Pope meets Pelosi as abortion debate rages back homeVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis met on Saturday with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who has come under criticism from some bishops in the United States for her support for abortion rights.
Psaki reiterated this month in a statement on the Texas abortion law that Biden "will continue to stand side-by-side with women across the country to protect their constitutional rights."
During a press briefing last month, she also stressed that "protecting a woman's right to choose is something the president is committed to."
She added that the codification of legalized abortion is "something that the president talked about on the campaign trail, the vice president talked about on the campaign trail."
Texas abortion law shutting down court avenue for teens .
PHOENIX (AP) — Veronika Granado anxiously stood before the judge knowing that if she said something wrong, things could end badly for her. But the 17-year-old hadn't committed a crime. She had not filed a lawsuit. Granado was in a Texas court that day to ask permission to get an abortion. She was among thousands of teens burdened with additional hurdles to legal abortion care, especially if they are of color or live in states where abortion access is already severely limited. Thirty-eight states require some form of parental consent or notice for anyone under 18 to get an abortion.