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Biden, Meloni meet on sidelines of G7 summit but one notable matter wasn't on the table: abortion

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Biden, Meloni meet on sidelines of G7 summit but one notable matter wasn't on the table: abortion
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Biden, Meloni meet on sidelines of G7 summit but one notable matter wasn't on the table: abortion

2024-06-15 06:35 Last Updated At:06:40

BORGO EGNAZIA, Italy (AP) — President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had a lot to talk about Friday when they met on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit, but one notable matter wasn't on the table: abortion, an issue that emerged as an unexpected friction point among the democracies gathered in Italy.

Meloni’s right-wing government this week worked to water down references to abortion in the final statement issued by all the G7 nations at the end of the summit, prompting a disagreement between nations over language in the final draft of their shared commitments. That is according to two senior U.S. officials, a senior European Union official and two other officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to talk about the discussions over the statement that were not made public.

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U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Pope Francis on the second day of the G7 summit at the Borgo Egnazia resort, in Savelletri, Puglia, Italy, Friday June 14, 2024. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP)

BORGO EGNAZIA, Italy (AP) — President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had a lot to talk about Friday when they met on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit, but one notable matter wasn't on the table: abortion, an issue that emerged as an unexpected friction point among the democracies gathered in Italy.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, right, meet for bilateral talks at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, right, meet for bilateral talks at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Pope Francis speaks during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Pope Francis speaks during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, is welcomed by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during a G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, is welcomed by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during a G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Pope Francis, left, greets U.S. President Joe Biden during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast at the G7 summit, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari in southern Italy, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis, left, greets U.S. President Joe Biden during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast at the G7 summit, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari in southern Italy, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

U.S. President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrive for bilateral talks at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrive for bilateral talks at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, greets Pope Francis ahead of a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, greets Pope Francis ahead of a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

The final statement, released Friday, omits the word “abortion” but does reference the need to promote “reproductive health and rights."

A White House readout of the Biden-Meloni meeting did not refer to the issue and instead emphasized their common efforts to “deepen the U.S.-Italy partnership across a range of vital security, economic, and regional issues.” It cited Meloni's “steadfast support for Ukraine as it continues to defend itself from Russia’s brutal war of aggression, including Italy’s critical security assistance.”

White House officials say the two leaders work together well despite Meloni's views on abortion and her other conservative political views, which align more closely with Republicans in the U.S.

The summit has underscored how their relationship has evolved since Meloni rose to power in 2022 as the head of Italy’s first far-right-led government since the end of World War II. Soon after Meloni's victory, Biden warned about the rise of hard-right populism in Europe and in the United States.

Those concerns have eased with Meloni's strong support of Ukraine at a time when the commitment by some other far-right leaders has been flagging. Meloni also announced on Thursday that Italy would participate in a U.S.-led investment effort in Africa, the Lobito railway corridor. It was a clear gesture of U.S. support coming on the heels of Italy's withdrawal from China's “belt and road” infrastructure initiative.

Biden initially “used Meloni’s candidacy as a warning to transatlanticists on both sides of the Atlantic,” Rachel Rizzo, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center in Washington, said before the summit. “But her premiership has actually been quite forward-leaning in terms of Italian support for Ukraine, in terms of Italian support for NATO. So that relationship has actually developed in a pretty positive direction.”

On the abortion issue, the upcoming G7 final statement will state that the nations reaffirmed their commitment from the 2023 summit in Japan to supporting “universal access to adequate, affordable and quality health services for women, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.”

That 2023 text, however, also plainly stated that the nations reaffirmed a “full commitment" to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, “including by addressing access to safe and legal abortion and post abortion care."

The final summit statement is a large document covering many issues and often takes wrangling for all leaders to feel comfortable with the final language. French President Emmanuel Macron said he regretted the decision to omit the word abortion.

“It’s not a vision that’s shared across all the political spectrum,” he said. “I regret it, but I respect it because it was the sovereign choice of your people,” he said Thursday to an Italian reporter.

The U.S. delegation was satisfied with the specific references to the 2023 summit in Japan, which affirmed the right to abortion care.

But abortion access is a major focus of Biden's 2024 reelection campaign, as Democrats seek to motivate voters concerned about worsening medical care for women since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 overturned the constitutional right to abortion. Roughly half the 50 states now restrict abortion access, and the topic has broadened to include access to emergency medical care, contraception and in vitro fertilization.

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has repeatedly taken credit for the overturning of a federally guaranteed right to abortion — having nominated three of the justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade — but he has resisted supporting a national abortion ban and says he wants to leave the issue to the states.

Biden, a Catholic, has had a decades-long evolution on abortion rights that has in some ways mirrored the Democratic Party's changing attitudes. He used to oppose federal funding for abortion services but his administration has worked to protect access, suing states where women have been unable to get care. But he still doesn't often say the word “abortion” himself.

The fallout from Roe goes beyond what the word “abortion” has generally signified in the U.S. -- the ability to end an unwanted pregnancy. Biden's campaign has sought to use those ripple effects to reach a broader voting base, and also generally uses words like “reproductive rights.”

In Italy, Meloni who campaigned on a slogan of “God, fatherland and family,” has prioritized encouraging women to have babies to reverse Italy’s demographic crisis. Abortion has been legal since 1978, and she has insisted she won’t roll back the law and merely wants to implement it fully.

But her forces recently passed legislation allowing anti-abortion groups to have access to women considering abortions at public health centers where they go for counseling. For those on the political right, the amendment merely fulfills the original intent of the 1978 law legalizing abortion, which included provisions to discourage the procedure and support motherhood.

For the left-wing opposition, the decision chips away at abortion rights that opponents had warned would follow Meloni’s 2022 election.

And the G7 communiqué is another sign. In a statement Thursday, the head of Italy's Democratic Party, Elly Shlein, said the reported text was a “national embarrassment” for putting into question a fundamental right for women.

Pope Francis was at the summit Friday, and Biden met with him privately. A White House readout of their conversation did not reference abortion rights. At the start of an earlier G7 session on artificial intelligence, the two men greeted each other warmly, the pope smiling as Biden bent down to speak quietly to him, their foreheads touching.

During the president's last audience with the pope in 2021, Biden said Francis had told him “I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving Communion.”

The next night he went to Mass in a Rome church and received Communion, evidence that even in the pope’s own diocese, Biden’s abortion position wasn’t a bar to receiving the sacrament.

At the same time, Francis is firmly opposed to abortion, equating it to “hiring a hitman to resolve a problem.”

Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed to this report.

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Pope Francis on the second day of the G7 summit at the Borgo Egnazia resort, in Savelletri, Puglia, Italy, Friday June 14, 2024. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Pope Francis on the second day of the G7 summit at the Borgo Egnazia resort, in Savelletri, Puglia, Italy, Friday June 14, 2024. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, right, meet for bilateral talks at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, right, meet for bilateral talks at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Pope Francis speaks during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Pope Francis speaks during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast, at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, is welcomed by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during a G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, is welcomed by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during a G7 world leaders summit at Borgo Egnazia, Italy, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Pope Francis, left, greets U.S. President Joe Biden during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast at the G7 summit, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari in southern Italy, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis, left, greets U.S. President Joe Biden during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast at the G7 summit, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari in southern Italy, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

U.S. President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrive for bilateral talks at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrive for bilateral talks at the G7, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari, southern Italy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, greets Pope Francis ahead of a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, greets Pope Francis ahead of a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Willie Calhoun hit a two-run, walk-off homer in the 10th inning, sending the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

Calhoun also hit a two-run homer in the first inning, then added a no-doubt shot to right field in the 10th on the second pitch by Austin Voth (2-3).

Calhoun, who had hit just one homer since May 12, connected for his third career multi-homer game as the Angels snapped the Mariners' three-game winning streak and earned just their third victory in nine games.

Mitch Garver bounced a one-out double into the stands off Hans Crouse (2-0) in the Mariners' half of the 10th, scoring automatic runner Josh Rojas from second. Crouse struck out Rodriguez and Ty France to limit the rally.

Cal Raleigh hit his fifth homer in four days for Seattle, and Julio Rodríguez hit a two-run homer in the first inning.

Raleigh's two-run shot in the third inning, giving him three homers in the last 10 innings at Angel Stadium. The catcher connected from each side of the plate Thursday, a feat he also accomplished Tuesday in San Diego.

Bryan Woo had a rocky return from the injured list for Seattle, yielding four runs on nine hits and two walks before getting chased in the fourth inning. After a strong start to the season, Woo had missed his last two turns in the rotation with a hamstring injury.

Tyler Anderson, the Angels’ sole All-Star selection, gave up four runs in six innings of six-hit ball with four strikeouts.

Rodríguez's two-out line drive to right off Anderson cleared the yellow line on the elevated right field fence for his 10th homer in the first.

Calhoun tied it with his first homer of the night.

The Angels then strung together three straight singles off Woo, but J.P. Crawford threw out Logan O'Hoppe at the plate on a deflected ball. Los Angeles loaded the bases again in the second, but Taylor Ward grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Mickey Moniak doubled and scored on Jo Adell's single in the fourth, and Nolan Schanuel drove in Adell with a broken-bat single that chased Woo.

Angels reliever Ben Joyce threw a fastball clocked at 104.5 mph in the seventh inning. He has thrown 13 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: Gabe Speier pitched an inning for Triple-A Tacoma in his return from a strained rotator cuff. The Santa Barbara-area native has been out since May 29, missing 37 games.

UP NEXT

George Kirby (7-6, 3.39 ERA) takes the mound for Seattle on Saturday against José Soriano (8-8. 2.81 ERA), one of the few pleasant surprises from the first half of the Angels' season.

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB

Los Angeles Angels right fielder Jo Adell can't get to a ball hit for a two-run home run by Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels right fielder Jo Adell can't get to a ball hit for a two-run home run by Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez, right, heads to first for a two-run home run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Logan O'Hoppe watches during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez, right, heads to first for a two-run home run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Logan O'Hoppe watches during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger can't get to a ball hit for a two-run home run by Los Angeles Angels' Willie Calhoun during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger can't get to a ball hit for a two-run home run by Los Angeles Angels' Willie Calhoun during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger fields a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels' Brandon Drury before throwing him out at second during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger fields a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels' Brandon Drury before throwing him out at second during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners' Cal Raleigh, center, is congratulated by Julio Rodriguez, left, after hitting a two-run home run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Logan O'Hoppe kneels at the plate during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Seattle Mariners' Cal Raleigh, center, is congratulated by Julio Rodriguez, left, after hitting a two-run home run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Logan O'Hoppe kneels at the plate during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels' Willie Calhoun, right, heads to first for a two-run home run as Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh watches during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels' Willie Calhoun, right, heads to first for a two-run home run as Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh watches during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels' Willie Calhoun is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels' Willie Calhoun is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels' Willie Calhoun, is hit with water by Anthony Rendon as he scores after hitting a walk-off two-run home run during the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Angels' Willie Calhoun, is hit with water by Anthony Rendon as he scores after hitting a walk-off two-run home run during the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners Friday, July 12, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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