Paul Ryan and Joe Biden offered sharply different opinions on abortion and religious freedom Thursday night in response to a question about their Catholic faith. Ryan said that while his Catholicism inspires him to "take care of the vulnerable," his opposition to abortion is based on science, reason, and an ultrasound image he saw of his unborn daughter.

"Our little baby was in the shape of a bean, and to this day we have nicknamed our first born child, Liza, 'Bean,'" he said. "Now, I believe that life begins at conception ... those are the reasons why I'm pro-life. Now, I understand this is a difficult of issue, and I respect people who don't agree with me on this, but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother."

Ryan accused Democrats of supporting abortion "without restriction and with taxpayer funding" -- a common talking point among social conservatives that is not true. The Hyde amendment, which has been public policy for three decades, prevents taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions in the U.S. and abroad.

Biden said that while he personally agrees with the Catholic teaching that life begins at conception, he refuses to impose that view on women and people with different beliefs. "I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that, women, that they can't control their body," he said. "It's a decision between them and their doctor, in my view, and the Supreme Court. I'm not going to interfere with that."

Biden pointed out that before becoming Mitt Romney's running mate, Ryan opposed abortion in cases of rape and incest and supported a bill to redefine rape as it related to the insurance coverage of abortion.

"I guess he accepts Governor Romney's position now, because in the past he has argued that there was -- there's rape and forcible rape. He's argued that in the case of rape or incest ... it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. I just fundamentally disagree with my friend."

Ryan also went after the Obama administration for "infringing upon" the freedom of religion by requiring most employers and insurers to cover contraception in their plans. "Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain religious liberties," he said.

Biden, who pushed for a broader religious exemption when Obama first announced the contraception mandate, responded by pointing out that the administration's accommodation excuses faith-based employers from having to pay for contraception if they morally oppose.

"Let me make it absolutely clear," he said. "No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise -- including Catholic social
services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy, 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."

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  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin shake hands after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin shake hands after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin gesture after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin gesture after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Joe Biden, Paul Ryan

    Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, shake hands following their the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Joe Biden, Paul Ryan

    Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin shake hands after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Joe Biden, Jill Biden

    Vice President Joe Biden kisses his wife, Jill Biden, following the vice presidential debate with Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Vice President Joe Biden talks to Janna Ryan, wife of Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin after the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Paul Ryan, Janna Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, kisses his wife Janna following the vice presidential debate with Vice President Joe Biden at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan's wife Janna, left, shakes hands with Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, following the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Joe Biden

    Vice President Joe Biden listens to Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Paul Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Paul Ryan, Joe Biden

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, right, listens to Vice President Joe Biden during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Paul Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Paul Ryan, Joe Biden

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, right, and Vice President Joe Biden discuss a point during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Paul Ryan, Joe Biden, Martha Raddatz

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, right, and Vice President Joe Biden, center, listen to moderator Martha Raddatz during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    A combination picture of the vice presidential debate between US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 11, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Vice President Joe Biden answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Paul Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, makes a point to Vice President Joe Biden during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Joe Biden, Paul Ryan

    Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin answer a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden participates in the vice presidential debate with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (out of frame) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Paul Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, speaks during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the vice presidential debate with Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Jill Biden, Beau Biden, Hunter Biden

    Jill Biden, center, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, sits with her sons Beau Biden, left, and Hunter Biden, right, before the start of the vice presidential debate, at Centre College in Danville, Ky., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Paul Ryan

    Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participate in the vice presidential debate at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (C) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Vice President Joe Biden answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)

  • Joe Biden

    Vice President Joe Biden reacts to a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Joe Biden, Paul Ryan

    Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, challenge each other during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin watches as Vice President Joe Biden answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin participate in the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Rick Wilking)

  • Joe Biden

    Vice President Joe Biden answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Joe Biden, Paul Ryan

    Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, respond to moderator Martha Raddatz during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Janna Ryan, Ted Olson, Lady Booth Olson, Betty Douglas

    Janna Ryan, second from right, wife of Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., his mother Betty Douglas, Ted Olson, second from left, former solicitor-general of the U.S. and his wife Lady Booth Olson sit in the audience before he start of the vice presidential debate, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at Centre College in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    US Vice President Joe Biden participates in the vice presidential debate with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (out of frame) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participates in the vice presidential debate with US Vice President Joe Biden (out of frame) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (L) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • US-VOTE-2012-DEBATE

    Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) participates in the vice presidential debate with US Vice President Joe Biden (out of frame) at the Norton Center at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, October 10, 2012, moderated by Martha Raddatz (L) of ABC News. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Vice President Joe Biden answers a question during the vice presidential debate at Centre College, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, in Danville, Ky. (AP Photo/Pool-Michael Reynolds)