This week, the U.S. Senate is considering bills to ban abortions after 20 weeks; to defund Planned Parenthood; and to hold abortion providers criminally liable for failing to provide medical care to babies born alive. Despite this, Pope Francis reportedly will focus his comments during his U.S. visit on climate change, not life issues. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford finds this sad and puzzling.
Lankford, a cosponsor of the bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, spoke with me Monday about the pope's visit. He also addressed the pending pro-life legislation and the battle over defunding Planned Parenthood, which could lead to a government shutdown.
"I would be surprised if he came in and talked about climate change, which is not a biblical issue, but didn't talk about abortion, which clearly is a biblical issue," Lankford said. "The life issue is clearly one of those things that comes up over and over again in Scripture — the value of each human being. While there are many issues to talk about dealing with poverty, dealing with justice, dealing with protection under the law, certainly we can find common ground to be able to talk about the life issues. ... That should be a central part of the conversation." more >>
A number of Republican politicians have warned Pope Francis against "lecturing" them on issues such as climate change and capitalism ahead of the pontiff's major address at a joint session of Congress on Thursday.
"I think it's totally inappropriate that the Pope is weighing in on all the real sensitive, far-left issues," said Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe in an interview with CNN. "I'm not a Catholic, but my Catholic friends in Oklahoma are not real pleased with it."
Rep. Paul Gosar, a Catholic Republican from Arizona, added: more >>
The U.S. Senate failed to move forward on a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks gestation, when a fetus can feel pain.
Known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the bill failed on Tuesday morning to receieve the necessary 60 votes to advance to a vote.
"What I am asking every colleague is this: look in your hearts and help us stand up for the most innocent life," said Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in advance of the vote. more >>
Former Hewlett Packard CEO and Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina received an ovation during Thursday night's GOP presidential debate after she strongly denounced Planned Parenthood and implied that the Republicans in Congress should risk a government shutdown to force a presidential veto to spending legislation that wouldn't fund the abortion giant.
As the topic of whether or not Republicans in Congress should risk a government shutdown to defund Planned Parenthood was raised at the CNN debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, Ohio Gov. John Kasich argued that it is pointless to attempt defunding Planned Parenthood through the continuing resolution, if President Barack Obama is just going to veto such legislation.
With the GOP in control of both the House and Senate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Fiorina responded to Kasich's veto argument stating that conservatives should not back down from their opposition to Planned Parenthood's $500 million in annual federal funding just because Obama is sure to veto. more >>
GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson said that he "absolutely" stands by his comments on Sunday that he would not support a Muslim president, but clarified that he would be opposed to any politician, including a Christian, looking to turn America into a theocracy. He argued that when it comes to the office of the president, the U.S. Constitution trumps religion.
"We don't put people at the head of our country whose faith might interfere with them carrying out the duties of the Constitution. If you're a Christian and you're running for president and you want to make this [country] into a theocracy, I'm not going to support you. I'm not going to advocate you being the president," Carson expressed in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.
The retired neurosurgeon had previously told NBC's "Meet the Press" that a Muslim man or woman should not be "in charge of this nation," drawing criticism from The Council on American-Islamic Relations and some of his GOP presidential rivals, including Sen.'s Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. more >>
Vice President Joe Biden, a Roman Catholic, said that while he accepts the Church's position that life begins at conception, he will not share his position with others who do not have the same beliefs.
"I'm prepared to accept that at the moment of conception there's human life and being, but I'm not prepared to say that to other God-fearing, non-God fearing people that have a different view," Biden told Father Matt Malone, S.J., editor in chief of America magazine, in an interview published on Monday.
Biden admitted that it has been hard to reconcile the Democratic Party's support for abortion rights with Catholic doctrine, but explained that he cannot impose a "precise view" stemming from his own faith on others. more >>