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Expand chart
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Biden — the second Catholic U.S. president — will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, as some church leaders debate whether to deny Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

By the numbers: Overall, two in three U.S. Catholics believe Biden should be allowed to take Communion despite his stance on abortion, according to polling by Pew Research Center.

  • There are partisan differences, however. More than half of Republican Catholics think the president should be refused the eucharist.

The big picture: Abortion has long been a deeply partisan, hotly contested issue.

  • Lately, it's caught national attention after Texas passed a bill banning abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — about six weeks into a pregnancy.
  • Critics say some women aren't even aware at that point that they're pregnant.
  • The Supreme Court has agreed to hear three abortion-related cases this term— two over the Texas law and another over a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks.

What they're saying: Biden is "somebody who stands up for and believes that a woman's right to choose is important. The pope has spoken differently," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday.

Go deeper

Dec 6, 2021 - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis addresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Dec. 5. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos on Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... Let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.