In the video, Biden, a Catholic, narrates how once, after having a brief meeting with Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Basilica, he departed the church and ran into a group of religious sisters.
These sisters, said Biden in a voiceover, “to me, epitomize everything Pope Francis talked about in his homily and what he stands for. About generosity to other people, about reaching out, about making it a point to understand that we are our brother’s keeper,” said Biden.
Biden said the idea that people have an obligation to look out for one another had been imprinted on him during his Catholic upbringing and “being educated by the nuns.”
“That’s what those lovely women I’m talking to symbolize to me,” said Biden.
He quipped he thought it was a “good omen” to see the sisters, and said the encounter was an “exciting time and it gave me a lot of hope.”
Recognizing that people are obligated to help each other is “the only way we’re gonna make the world better and safer,” said Biden.
Biden and the pope met in the Vatican in April 2016, when Biden was presenting at a Vatican conference on regenerative medicine, and in 2013, when the then-vice president led a delegation from the United States to Francis’ papal inauguration.
The images and videos in the ad are from the 2016 trip.
Biden’s use of the nuns’ example of service for campaign purposes sits in contrast to his pledge to force one religious order to violate their consciences and provide birth control, sterilizations, and abortifacient drugs to their employees.
Shortly after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania on July 8, Biden said he was “disappointed” by the decision and promised to reinstate Obama-era policies requiring the sisters to ensure access to birth control in violation of their religious beliefs.
Following nine years of legal battles, and two trips to the Supreme Court, the court upheld an executive action offering the sisters religious freedom and conscience exemptions to the “contraception mandate” issued by the Department of Health and Human Services following the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
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“If I am elected I will restore the Obama-Biden policy that existed before the [Supreme Court’s 2014] Hobby Lobby ruling: providing an exemption for houses of worship and an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious missions,” said Biden in July.
“This accommodation will allow women at these organizations to access contraceptive coverage, not through their employer-provided plan, but instead through their insurance company or a third-party administrator.”
The Little Sisters of the Poor would not have qualified as a “nonprofit organization with a religious mission” under the Obama-era accommodations. The order serves and employs people of all or no faiths, in accordance with their vocation to serve the elderly poor.
The Little Sisters of the Poor have repeatedly stated that authorizing a “third-party administrator” to provide birth control to their employees is still a violation of their beliefs and is not an acceptable compromise.
Following the July 8 decision, Biden said that the decision “will make it easier for the Trump-Pence Administration to continue to strip health care from women--attempting to carve out broad exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s commitment to giving all women free access to recommended contraception.”
When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, the legislation did not mandate that insurance plans provide at least one form of female contraception, including sterilization. The “contraception mandate” was announced as an interim final rule on August 1, 2011, and was finalized on January 20, 2012.