Rep. John Delaney (D., Md.), who announced this summer that he will seek the 2020 Democratic nomination for president of the United States, struggled to square his pro-choice views on abortion with his Catholic faith when pressed to do so on Friday.
The panel on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" first asked Delaney, a third-term congressman and former health-care financier, to describe his position on late-term abortion.
"Where are you on late-term abortion?" Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan asked.
"Personally, my wife and I would follow the teachings of our church; we're active Catholics," Delaney responded. "So the decision I make personally is different than the decision that I think I should be applying for the citizens of this county."
"So you would not be for a ban against late-term?" Noonan asked again.
"It all depends on how you define it, right, the science is moving," Delaney said before pivoting the conversation to explain why he thinks of himself as a "different kind of Democrat." Delaney said he seeks to achieve progressive goals but recognizes that market forces are positive and help the economy.
Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney, who described himself as a Maryland Catholic, then returned the discussion to abortion, pressing Delaney to square his pro-choice views with the Catholic Church's teaching that abortion should be illegal.
"I think your answer implies falsely that the Catholic Church just prescribes how you ought to behave on abortion," Carney said. "The Catholic Church, in the catechism, in papal documents, say clearly that abortion should be illegal, and that this is a clear teaching of the Catholic church."
"Do you agree with that?" Carney asked. "How do square the fact that you're saying abortion ought to be legal with the fact that the church says that abortion is always an evil and that politicians may not allow it to be legal?"
"So listen, I love my church, and I support my church, which doesn't mean I agree with every specific doctrine of my church," Delaney said. " My church has evolved across time just has all religions have."
"You're rejecting the Catholic Church's teaching on the legality of abortion?" Carney pressed.
"Listen. I respect the law of the land of the United States of America and support women's reproductive freedom, so that does in fact conflict with some of the things my church advocates for as it relates to the law of the land," Delaney said." So yeah, I have a conflict with them on that."