WASHINGTON -- Whatever the outcome of the nation’s debate over health care reform, one of the biggest byproducts is the emergence of a relatively small group of pro-life Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives as key figures in the nation’s moral and political debate.
The Senate continues to have a pro-choice majority and nearly all Catholic senators tend to follow their party’s position — pro-choice if you’re a Democrat, antiabortion if you’re a Republican.
But things have gradually changed in the House, and now about three dozen Catholic pro-life Democrats carry a key swing vote if they decide to challenge the party line on abortion issues.
In the vote Nov. 7 on an amendment introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., to prohibit federal funding of elective abortions in the health care reform bill, a disproportionate 36 of the 64 Democrats who voted for the amendment — 56 percent — were Catholic. Less than 40 percent of the total Democratic House membership is Catholic.