DANVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- Paul Ryan's pro-life stance was solidified when he saw an ultrasound of his daughter seven weeks after conception, and Joe Biden accepts the Catholic Church's position on abortion but refuses to impose it on others, the two candidates for vice president of the United States said in a debate Oct. 11.
Congressman Ryan, the Republican candidate, and Vice President Biden, the Democratic candidate, met for their only debate this year Thursday night at Centre College in Danville, Ky., with Martha Raddatz of ABC News as moderator.
The debate came on the same day former Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president, met with evangelist Billy Graham in North Carolina.
For the first time in history, both vice presidential candidates are Catholic, leading Raddatz to ask the men to explain what role their religion has played in their personal views on abortion.
"It's not simply because of my Catholic faith," Ryan said. "That's a factor, of course, but it's also because of reason and science."
About 10 years ago, Ryan and his wife Janna went to the same hospital in Janesville, Wis., where he was born for a seven-week ultrasound of their first child, and they heard the heartbeat.
"A little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child Liza 'Bean.' Now I believe that life begins at conception," Ryan said, adding, "The policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother."
Such a position would be identical to that of President George W. Bush and his father, the two most recent pro-life presidents.
Biden said his religion defines who he is, he has been a practicing Catholic his whole life, and his religion has particularly informed his social doctrine.
"Life begins at conception in the church's judgment," Biden said. "I accept it in my personal life, but I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others....
"I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that –- women, they can't control their body," Biden said. "It's a decision between them and their doctor."
Ryan delved into the topic of religious liberty, calling attention to the Obama administration "infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals" by requiring employers, through insurance coverage, to provide birth control, including some forms that can cause chemical abortions.
"Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties," Ryan said. Read More