Vice President Kamala Harris insisted Friday that people can support abortion rights without having to “abandon their faith.”
The comments, which came as the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case that made abortion a federal right, drew widespread criticism online. Several key Democrats, including President Joe Biden, Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been trying to reconcile their religious faiths with their support for abortion as the decision looms.
“There’s nothing about this issue that would require anyone to abandon their faith,” Harris said Friday. “It’s simply saying that the government should not have the ability to decide what an individual does with her own body.”
KAMALA HARRIS: “For those of us of faith, I think that we agree…there’s nothing about this issue [of abortion] that will require anyone to abandon their faith” pic.twitter.com/6DsMBgqFLQ
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 17, 2022
Catholics, evangelical Protestants, and many Jews believe abortion goes against their faith.
“Lord have mercy,” tweeted author Stephen Mansfield. “This woman is either ignorant or deeply deceived.”
“Kamala Harris is wrong,” tweeted Arkansas state legislator Aaron Pilkington. “To Support abortion is to stand oppose to Christian Faith. Just ask any Bishop or Priest.”
Harris grew up in an interfaith household, as her mother was Hindu and her father Baptist. In an interview last year, she described attending a Baptist church while growing up.
“On Sundays, my mother would dress my sister, Maya, and me in our Sunday best and send us off to the 23rd Avenue Church of God in Oakland, California, where Maya and I sang in the children’s choir,” Harris told Interfaith Youth Core. “That’s where I formed some of my earliest memories of the Bible’s teachings. It’s where I learned that ‘faith’ is a verb and that we must live it, and show it, in action.”
Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff is Jewish, and the couple, which married in 2014, observes both Christian and Jewish traditions.
The General Board of American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. opposes abortion in most circumstances, according to a 1988 declaration.
“As American Baptists we oppose abortion, as a means of avoiding responsibility for conception; as a primary means of birth control; and without regard for the far-reaching consequences of the act,” the board said.
The controversial issue has reclaimed center stage in American politics after an early draft of a United States Supreme Court majority opinion leaked in May that indicated the controversial Roe v. Wade decision would likely be struck down.
The draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, stated that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start” and “we hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”
Pelosi and Biden, who are both Catholic, also support abortion rights. In March, Pelosi described herself as a devout and practicing Catholic, but said the right to abortion is the law.
“That was right for me, it’s not for me to say what’s for somebody else,” Pelosi said. “Nor is it right for you, nor is it right for the Supreme Court. This has been a precedent of the court that should be upheld by the court.”
Biden, a lifelong Catholic, has been criticized by members of the faith for his adamant pro-abortion views. In 2019, he dropped his long-standing support for the Hyde Amendment, the 1970s law forbidding the use of federal funds to subsidize abortions. In the weeks since the Supreme Court took up the issue again, his support for the right to abortion has hardened.
“The idea that we’re going to make the judgment that is going to say that no one can make the judgment to choose to abort a child based on a decision by the Supreme Court, I think, goes way overboard,” Biden said last month.
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