I was pleased to see Elana Schor, The Associated Press’ new religion and politics reporter, take a thought-provoking dive into the subject. Her specific angle: How former Vice President Joe Biden’s shift on the Hyde Amendment is playing among his fellow Catholics.
I have a small suggestion concerning the AP report out today and want to point out an interesting editor’s note appended to it.
But first, I just want to compliment Schor for an excellent piece of religion journalism.
The punchy lede sets the scene:
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was one of the first stress tests of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign: A sudden reversal of his decades-long support for restricting federal funding of abortions.
The move seemed sure to hurt the former vice president with Catholics, particularly those in the Midwest, whose support will be critical to winning the Democratic primary and the general election. But so far, Biden has faced little criticism over his shift on abortion funding relative to other aspects of his record, and polls show that he remains Catholic Democrats’ overwhelming favorite in the presidential field.
Since the days of John F. Kennedy, Catholic Democrats have wrestled to reconcile their church’s teachings with their party’s politics. That tension has been especially acute when it comes to abortion, with some bishops threatening to deny communion to then-Sen. John Kerry over his support for abortion rights during his 2004 presidential bid. But the church has faced significant upheaval in the 15 years since then, raising questions about whether Biden’s leftward step on abortion is a liability with some voters of faith — or a more minor hurdle at a time when Catholics, like the electorate nationwide, are becoming more politically polarized in the age of President Donald Trump.
Keep reading, and Schor mixes insightful details, helpful sources — including Steven Krueger, president of the nonprofit Catholic Democrats — and timely poll data.