The Corner

Explaining the Votes on Stupak

Alan Wolfe: “Catholic House members with their eyes on Senate seats — Michael Capuano from Massachusetts and Joe Sestak from Pennsylvania — voted against, as if realizing that election to statewide office required showing independence of mind.” Well, that’s one explanation: an implausible and ideologically self-congratulatory one, sure, but an explanation. Here’s another: Both men are trying to appeal to very liberal primary electorates and can’t show any independence from the left wing of their party.

Wolfe writes further that ”an amendment written by a man that would only affect women was strongly opposed by female members of Congress no matter what their faith.” Leave aside the role of men as taxpayers, premium-payers, fathers, former fetuses, etc. Republican women (including pro-choice women) unanimously supported the amendment.

Finally, he writes:

The Stupak Amendment will not prohibit all insurance plans from paying for abortions, but will restrict those held by the less well off. In that sense, Stupak’s amendment violates the commitments to social justice and equality that have become so much part of the worldview of younger Catholics such as those I teach at Boston College. Stupak, a Catholic from Michigan, along with his allies among the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have taken a step likely to be perceived as blatantly unfair by those who constitute the future of their church. If this is Catholicism muscling its political power, it sure is a strange way to do so.

I’m sure that a lot of younger self-identified Catholics favor legal abortion. But do they really overwhelmingly think that “social justice” requires subsidizing abortion for poor women? I’m skeptical.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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