When vice-presidential nominees Sarah Palin and Joe Biden debate tonight in St. Louis, life issues could be prominent.

And in the run-up to the debate, the sharp contrast between Republican candidate Palin’s pro-life beliefs and Democratic candidate Biden’s pro-abortion voting record has been highlighted.

In a Sept. 29 interview with CBS news anchor Katie Couric, Palin said, “I am pro-life. And I’m unapologetic about my position there on pro-life.”

Pressed by Couric about whether she opposes abortion in pregnancies resulting from rape or abortion, Palin didn’t back down.

Said Palin, “I’m saying that, personally, I would counsel the person to choose life, despite horrific, horrific circumstances … They can be strong enough, and they can have the resources provided them to give that child life.”

For his part, Biden was rebuked publicly by the U.S. bishops following his Sept. 7 comments about abortion on “Meet the Press.”

Biden said that while he accepts Church teaching that human life begins at conception, it’s “inappropriate” to “impose” that belief legally on others in “a pluralistic society.”

The U.S. bishops rejected Biden’s argument.

A Sept. 9 bishops’ conference statement declared, “Protection of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but a demand of justice.”

— Tom McFeely