Amid the 2020 campaign, however, pro-life Democrats have decried the party's "extreme" support of abortion in its 2020 platform. Biden has not responded to their call for a platform that would welcome pro-lifers to the party.
While Biden was criticized during the Democratic primary by some abortion advocates, the candidate supports pro-abortion policies that would expand even upon those that existed during the Obama administration.
Biden says he would "work to codify Roe v. Wade," the Supreme Court's 1973 decision that legalized abortion, "as amended by Casey." The Court's 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision upheld Roe, but said that state laws could regulate abortion so long as they did not pose an undue burden on women seeking abortions.
Biden supports taxpayer funding of elective abortions in the U.S. through the repeal of the Hyde Amendment; a position Biden adopted last year under pressure from liberal groups. He also opposes the Mexico City Policy, which bars U.S. foreign assistance from funding foreign groups that perform or promote abortions.
And Biden's health plan would offer public funding of abortions on a mass scale, something that President Obama promised he would not do when the Affordable Care Act passed Congress. Biden says he would set up a public health insurance option which, among other things, would cover contraceptives and abortions.
Biden also says his Justice Department "will do everything in its power" to stop state abortion restrictions, such as parental notification requirements or ultrasound requirements.
Recently, Biden's selection of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate reignited pro-life concerns about abortion policy in his administration.
Harris has been an outspoken proponent of abortion. She grilled judicial nominees on the issue while on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as California attorney general, she supported legislation to force pro-life pregnancy centers to inform clients where they could get abortions.
Harris also has connections to Planned Parenthood. Her presidential campaign communications director, Lily Adams, is the daughter of former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. And following Harris' selection as the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Planned Parenthood spent five figures on a video ad calling her "OUR Reproductive Health Champion," according to the Washington Post.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that laws protecting the right to life are of primary importance in civil societies.
"The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation," the Catechism says.
Despite the Catechism's teaching, Carolan told CNA that abortion should not be the primary issue that Catholics consider in the voting booth, adding that the abortion rate is falling no matter who is in office-and has actually declined faster during Democratic administrations.
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"We have to have a discussion about abortion, but it can't be framed in black-and-white, like some people try to make it. And it's not the only issue," Carolan said.
According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate (number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age) rose sharply after 1973, the year the Supreme Court struck down state bans on abortion and ruled that there is a right to abortion. The rate jumped from 16.3 to 29.3 between the years 1973 and 1981. It has then declined steadily since to a 2017 rate of 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44.
Fr. Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life, who supports Trump's re-election, told CNA that the abortion rate, ratio (number of abortions compared to number of live births), and absolute numbers of abortions have all declined, but the drop is due to "complex" factors including increased education on abortion, fewer abortionists and clinics, the rise of pro-life pregnancy centers, sexual mores, and state restrictions on abortion.
Federal and state abortion restrictions will push the number of abortions and the abortion rate down, and not increase it, he said.
Pavone pointed a report published by the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute that reviewed more than 20 studies in peer-reviewed journals; the institute concluded that birthrates of women on Medicaid increased when the Hyde Amendment took effect in the 1970s, and that the policy "routinely" saves around 60,000 lives each year and has resulted in more than two million lives saved since 1976.
In conclusion, "the more the abortion industry is funded, the more abortions will occur," Pavone said.