Biden says he disagrees with Catholic Church’s stance on IVF

Joe Biden President Joe Biden tells EWTN News' Owen Jensen he disagrees with the Catholic Church's position on IVF, Feb. 29, 2024. | Credit: EWTN News

President Joe Biden expressed today his disagreement with the Catholic Church’s position that in vitro fertilization (IVF) is immoral because it kills countless unborn human babies.

As the controversy continues after an Alabama Supreme Court ruling established the personhood of unborn babies conceived through IVF, Biden was asked by EWTN White House correspondent Owen Jensen on Thursday what he thought about the Church’s position on the issue. 

“The Catholic Church says IVF is immoral and wrong because it destroys countless human embryos. What do you say to that?” Jensen asked.

“I don’t agree with that position,” Biden responded before walking away.

IVF is a medical procedure that fuses sperm and egg in a lab environment to conceive a child outside of the sexual act. The live embryo is later implanted into a uterus to continue developing until birth.

While the Church encourages certain fertility treatments for couples struggling to have children, the use of IVF is contrary to Catholic teachings because it separates the marriage act from procreation and destroys embryonic human life.

Although Biden is a professed Catholic, he criticized the Alabama ruling as a “disregard for women’s ability to make these decisions for themselves and their families.”

He said that the decision was “outrageous” and “unacceptable,” calling it a “direct result of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.”

Biden and the Democrats are not the only ones voicing support for IVF in the wake of the Alabama decision. Several leading Republicans, including former president Donald Trump, have urged more legislation to broaden legal protections for IVF.

On Thursday the Alabama House overwhelmingly approved a bill that grants immunity to IVF providers in cases of death or injury to unborn babies during the IVF process. The Republican majority House passed the bill in a 94-6 vote that says that “no action, suit, or criminal prosecution shall be brought or maintained against any individual or entity providing goods or services related to in vitro fertilization.”

Joseph Meaney, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, told CNA that ignorance of the Catholic position on IVF is a major issue. 

“If you go to church faithfully for an entire year every Sunday, what are the chances of you hearing the Church’s teaching on IVF mentioned? It’s pretty low,” Meaney said. “There are tons of people who don’t know what the Church teaches.”

Meaney urged Catholics to educate themselves on the topic, pointing to the 1987 Vatican document Donum Vitae as a starting point to understand the Church’s teachings on IVF. 

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