Pro-Abortion Senators Claim to Vote "More Catholic" Than Pro-Lifers

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 4, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Senators Claim to Vote "More Catholic" Than Pro-Lifers

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 4, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A pro-abortion U.S. senator has compiled a list of Senate votes and is claiming that Massachusetts senator John Kerry and other leading abortion advocates vote more closely with the Catholic Church than pro-life lawmakers.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin released a survey on Wednesday, where he compiled a list of Senate votes on which the U.S. Catholic Bishops took a position.

The votes range from the important (banning human cloning and partial-birth abortion) to the trivial (limiting the use of mercury in thermometers). Despite the vast difference in importance Catholic leaders placed on the votes, Durbin weighted them equally.

After examining the two dozen selected votes of Catholic senators from both parties, Durbin says likely Democratic nominee John Kerry voted most often in favor of the nation’s Catholic bishops.

Durbin and pro-abortion Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) followed Kerry as the top two most pro-Catholic voters, according to Durbin’s subjective survey. The survey only took into account 48 of the 101 issues on which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops took a position.

"Unfortunately, recent media attention has focused on one or two priorities of the Catholic Church, while obscuring others," said Durbin.

But pro-life Catholic senators pointed out the vast difference in importance of some issues compared with others.

"To suggest . . . that the issue of taking innocent human life is on par and has the moral equivalency of how many television stations somebody owns in Erie, Pennsylvania, is a deliberate attempt to confuse and obfuscate what is the true teaching of the church," Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum told the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper.

"They are not morally equivalent issues," Santorum explained.

Kathie Sass, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, Durbin’s hometown, agreed.

She told the Post Dispatch: "The bishops say there are a whole range of issues you must consider. It also says some issues are more important than others, and these are the life issues."

"This is a selective attempt to make John Kerry and a bunch of liberal Democrats who disagree with the church’s teaching to look like faithful Catholics," Santorum added.

Durbin likely compiled the list as a response to a Catholic priest who recently said he would likely refuse the senator communion because of his pro-abortion voting record.

In April, Monsignor Kevin Vann, pastor of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield where Durbin used to attend Mass, told the Springfield Journal-Register that Durbin’s pro-choice position puts him really outside of communion or unity with the church’s teachings on life. And that’s why I would be reticent to give him Holy Communion."

"To say that a senator votes better on Catholic issues because he has voted to increase the minimum wage while voting against a ban on killing a baby who is 80 percent born is ludicrous," Catholic League President William Donohue said.

"The Vatican’s recent document on Catholic politicians, echoing the pope, states that Catholic lawmakers have ‘a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life,’" Donohue concluded. "Saying otherwise is a disgraceful misrepresentation of Catholic teaching."

Durbin voted mostly pro-life as a Congressman in the 1980s. That changed shortly before Durbin decided to run for the U.S. Senate.