Catholics in Congress – The Ongoing Scandal

Deal W. Hudson
May 17, 2009

The scandal of President Barack Obama receiving an honorary degree at Notre Dame yesterday pales in comparison with the ongoing scandal of Catholics in Congress. Of the 161 Catholics presently serving, only 26 have 100 percent pro-life voting records, while 28 have a zero percent rating. Sixty-five have less than a 20 percent pro-life rating and 75 have accepted donations from pro-abortion lobbying groups.

These statistics are available at where Lisa Correnti has just published an exhaustive list of the pro-life voting records of Catholics in the 111th Congress. (Her numbers are based upon information from the National Right to Life compilation of life issue votes since 1997.) The advantage of Correnti’s list over others is that her numbers come from the entire career of each member. For example, Sen. John Kerry’s rating (4 percent) is based upon 45 votes since he was first elected in 1985. Rep. Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) impressive rating of 99 percent comes from 85 votes since 1981.

Of the 26 Catholics in Congress with perfect pro-life voting records, all are Republican, four are from California, two each is from the states of Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, and Washington. Only two are from the Senate.

Here is a list of those with a 100 percent rating:

  • Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA)
  • Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA)
  • Rep. David Nunes (R-CA)
  • Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID)
  • Rep. Edward A. Royce (R-CA)
  • Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)
  • Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)
  • Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fl)
  • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fl)
  • Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA)
  • Rep. David Lee (R-MI)
  • Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)
  • Rep. Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska)
  • Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska)
  • Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
  • Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
  • Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
  • Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
  • Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
  • Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK)
  • Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)
  • Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
  • Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Washington)
  • Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Washington)
  • Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL)
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)

Among the 31 with a zero percent pro-life voting record – or a 100 percent pro-abortion record, in other words – two are from California, four from New York, and three from Connecticut. Only one is a Republican.

Here is the list:

  • Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-AZ)
  • Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ)
  • Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA)
  • Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
  • Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
  • Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA)
  • Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
  • Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
  • Rep. Jerry McNemey (D-CA)
  • Rep. John Larson (D-CT)
  • Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
  • Rep. Philip Hare (D-IL)
  • Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA)
  • Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota)
  • Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)
  • Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
  • Rep. Albio Sirea (D-NJ)
  • Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY)
  • Rep. John Hall (D-NY)
  • Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY)
  • Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PN)
  • Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PN)
  • Rep. Charles Gonzales (D-TX)
  • Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX)
  • Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri)
  • Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-DE)
  • Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington)
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
The record of Catholics in Congress is actually worse than the 31 names listed above would indicate. Twenty-two more Catholics have a 1 or 2 percent pro-life voting record, and another 14 have a record under 20 percent. That results in nearly 40 percent of Catholics in Congress with less than a 20 percent pro-life rating. It is even more alarming that only 28 percent of the Catholics in Congress have a rating of 70 percent or higher.

Many have argued that this scandal comes from the lack of formation Catholics have received over the past thirty years. What Correnti shows, by including the amount of money each member received from the pro-abortion lobby, is that Catholic dissent has actually become lucrative. For example, being a pro-abortion Catholic, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has already benefitted to the tune of $489,081.00… and she has only been in Congress since 2007.

It's high time for Catholics to be as concerned about the overwhelming support for abortion by Catholics in Congress as they are about the Obama Administration. The new president would not have a free hand to remove abortion restrictions if the 161 Catholics – who make up 30 percent of the votes in Congress – had their priorities straight.

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