Evangelist and prominent conservative Christian Franklin Graham has criticized President Joe Biden's recent insinuation the right to abortion comes from being a “child of God."
As the contentious issue gains a renewed prominence in American politics ahead of an anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision and the leak of a draft opinion, Biden spoke on the abortion issue Wednesday during a speech at the White House.
His speech came two days after Politico published a leaked draft opinion in the Supreme Court case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, suggesting that a majority of justices support overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
In Dobbs, the justices consider the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.
“This is about a lot more than abortion,” Biden warned, adding that it reminds him of a debate he had decades earlier with Robert Bork, who then-President Ronald Reagan nominated to serve on the Supreme Court in 1987. Bork’s nomination was ultimately defeated, making him the most recent Supreme Court nominee voted down by the Senate.
“Bork believed the only reason you had any inherent rights was because the government gave them to you,” Biden said. “I said I believe I have the rights that I have not because the government gave them to me, which you believe, but because I’m just a child of God, I exist.”
Rev. Franklin Graham, the CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, condemned Biden, saying the president implies that the “right to an abortion comes from being a ‘child of God.’”
“Mr. President, that’s just not true,” Graham stated in a tweet Thursday. “Being a child of God does not give you the right to take the lives of the innocent. Abortion is a sin — simply put, it’s murder.”
Yesterday @POTUS Biden said that the right to an abortion comes from being a “child of God.” Mr. President, that is just not true. Being a child of God does not give you the right to take the lives of the innocent. Abortion is a sin—simply put, it‘s murder.https://t.co/T9TUO5D0DC— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) May 5, 2022
Biden suggested that the draft opinion in Dobbs becoming the final ruling would lead to a slippery slope.
“What are the next things that are going to be attacked?” the Democrat asked, arguing that the "MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that's existed in American history."
The president specifically mentioned the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, which struck down a Connecticut law banning married couples from obtaining contraception and is widely seen as setting a precedent for Roe v. Wade by creating a right to privacy.
“Griswold was thought to be a bad decision by Bork and my guess is by the guys on the Supreme Court now,” Biden said, rejecting the idea that “there is no right of privacy.”
Biden seemingly compared a decision in the Dobbs case to states passing laws proclaiming that “children that are LGBTQ can’t be in classrooms with other children” due to the “way the decision’s written.”
Biden had previously expressed displeasure at the draft opinion in Dobbs on multiple occasions leading up to his comments Wednesday.
When asked about the draft opinion before boarding Air Force One en route to Alabama Tuesday, Biden said the “rationale used” to reach a decision overturning Roe would affect every other Supreme Court decision “relating to the notion of privacy.”
“If the rationale of the decision as released were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question — a whole range of rights,” he said. “And the idea we’re letting the states make those decisions, localities make those decisions would be a fundamental shift in what we’ve done.”
Justice Samuel Alito, the author of the leaked draft opinion in Dobbs,wrote that “our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right.”
Alito maintained that “nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”
Biden indicated that he was “not prepared” to leave abortion law to the “whims” of the American people.
In a statement Tuesday, Biden described “a woman’s right to choose” as “fundamental” because “Roe has been the law of the land for almost 50 years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.”
He vowed to work to pass “legislation that codifies Roe at the federal level.” The legislation in question, the Women’s Health Protection Act, has already passed the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives but failed to pass the Senate. The Senate has scheduled a second vote on the measure for Wednesday.
A decision overturning Roe would leave the issue of abortion up to each state.
Twenty-one states have bans or stricter restrictions on abortion that would go into effect in the absence of Roe. Meanwhile, 16 states have codified the right to abortion into state law and 10 states that have not codified the right to abortion will see no significant changes in their abortion laws. Three states may have their abortion laws determined in referendums in the near future.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org