WASHINGTON (RNS) In a rare public rebuke, Catholic bishops chided Vice President Joe Biden for saying during Thursday’s vice-presidential debate that Catholic hospitals and institutions will not be forced to provide contraception coverage to employees.
Without mentioning Biden by name, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the “inaccurate” statement “made during the Vice Presidential debate” was “not a fact.”
Biden and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan are both Catholic.
During Thursday’s debate, Biden said “No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.”
Biden also said that there is no “assault on the Catholic Church.” Ryan responded, “Why would they keep suing you?”
“President Obama and Vice President Biden believe standing up for women’s health and respecting religious liberties are not mutually exclusive, and they are committed to upholding both principles,” she said in a statement to Religion News Service. “As it stands, no religious institution will have to refer, provide, or pay for contraception.”