Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

2/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The voters of Northern Virginia deserve an honest answer.

I removed my original article on Comstock from Catholic Online in order to give myself time to consider her "veto session" explanation. Having considered it, I find it not only inadequate but a sad reminder of the kind of explanation used by Rep. Bart Stupak when he backed down on his opposition to abortion funding in the health care bill.I've been told, publicly and privately, that I'm making it easier for a Democrat to win the 10th Congressional District, that Comstock is "electable," and so forth. As a Catholic commentator on politics, my obligation is to press hard on precisely these kinds of inconsistencies in the records and platforms of Catholic politicians.

Delegate Barbara Comstock

Delegate Barbara Comstock

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/13/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Barbara Comstock, Northern Virginia,


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - Politics is a world where friends give and receive the benefit of the doubt. And that, I think, is as it should be. The loyalty of friendship naturally smooths over, or ignores, what acquaintances or strangers find troubling. When friends gather round to support one of their own in a political race they sometimes act startled when those being introduced to their candidate don't shrug off troubling issues.

A few days ago, I published an article raising questions about the vote of Delegate Barbara Comstock in the 2013 Virginia General Assembly. Comstock has recently announced her candidacy for the GOP nomination in Virginia's 10th Congressional District which encompasses an area running from McLean to Winchester. Thus, the voters Comstock must win, or any of her opponents, range from the "purple" of affluent McLean to the solid red of counties farther west.

My article elicited various criticisms, private and public, and led to the announcement of a Catholic Outreach committee for Comstock, many of whom are friends of mine. Comstock, by the way, is Catholic and attends St. Luke's Church in McLean. Having been the leader of Catholic Outreach for G. W. Bush in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns, I am no stranger to the workings of Republican Catholics in DC and Northern Virginia. The worst I have heard from any of these friends is that I was "badly misled," and it is to that charge that I must address myself.

Was I misled or inaccurate in my evaluation of Comstock's vote against the amendment to VA H.B.1900 that stripped the Virginia medical exchange, created under Obamacare, of all insurance coverage for abortions? The vote was considered against life, and scored as such, by the leading pro-life, pro-family, pro-marriage organization in Virginia, the Family Foundation. Of the ten leading pro-life Delegates in Virginia, only one, in addition to Comstock, voted against the amendment.

As a result, Comstock received a 100% rating in 2013 for her vote from NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, and her rating from the Family Foundation dropped from 100% to 89%. (Her lowered rating from the Family Foundation also includes her "yes" vote in favor of same-sex marriage activist judge, Tracey Thorne-Begland.)

There are many Catholics who find it odd that Comstock would vote against an amendment that stripped abortion coverage out of the implementation of Obamacare in Virginia. Since Delegate Comstock presented herself as a candidate who was both Catholic and pro-life, I looked into the matter. This is the kind of work I have been doing since taking over Crisis Magazine in 1995; as a pro bono adviser to Catholic Outreach at the Republican National Committee; and as a public commentator on Catholics in politics, including two books, How to Vote Catholic (Morley, 2004), and my 2008 book, Onward Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States (Simon and Schuster).

Over the years, my constant concern has been to hold the feet of Catholic politicians "to the fire," so to speak, when it comes to the Church's settled issues such as abortion, marriage, sterilization, and euthanasia. Catholics have had many disappointments - the majority of Catholics in Congress have supported abortion for decades. Only a few years ago, one Catholic Democrat, Rep. Bart Stupak, tried to hold out against immense pressure but eventually caved in, allowing abortion coverage in the health care bill that went to the desk of the President.

Thus, abortion coverage in Obamacare became both substantially and symbolically the sine qua non of pro-life politicians, especially among Catholics, since it was one of our own who couldn't take the pressure. 

That I would be curious, as would any other Catholic voter, about Comstock's vote against the abortion funding amendment, is both natural and necessary. It is natural because we don't want to elect another Stupak; it is necessary because it is the obligation of Catholics to consider settled issues such as abortion and marriage ahead of prudential matters when casting their vote.

Comstock and her supporters all know this.

After the article was published, I immediately received, privately from several different sources, her justification for the vote: A vote during a "veto session" on an amendment automatically becomes her vote on the entire bill. That is, a no vote against the amendment is a no vote against the bill.

That is why, I was told, Comstock voted against the amendment: she wanted to register her opposition to Obamacare - when H.B.1900 was first presented to the General Assembly in February, 2013, Comstock had voted against it. When the Governor sent it back to the General Assembly in April, with the pro-life amendment, Comstock's second "no" vote was registered against the pro-life amendment in order, I am told, to once again register her opposition to Obamacare. (NARAL even awarded her for voting "no" to the pro-life amendment.)

At the surface of it, this might sound like a perfectly reasonable explanation, especially to those who deplore Obamacare for the all reasons it can be deplored. However, for someone who thinks life issues should be considered first, it raises more questions:

Since the Virginia medical exchange was already cleared by both chambers and the Governor, why didn't Comstock want to be part of a majority of Virginia Delegates who voted on April 3, 2013, to remove abortion funding from the VA implementation of Obamacare?

I have sent this question and others to Comstock's representative, Susan Falconer, but have received no response. I also asked the more important and most pertinent question: Does Delegate Comstock recognize a difference in moral priority between voting for an amendment that will eliminate abortion coverage, and an entirely symbolic vote against Obamacare, which was already ratified for Virginia?

If this question is ever addressed by either Comstock or her supporters, I expect to hear that she considered a vote against Obamacare the moral equivalent of voting against the abortion funding amendment. I consider that position indefensible. The entirety of Obamacare, no matter how much emotion it stirs in us, is not the moral equivalent of abortion, for the simple reason that Obamacare encompasses all medical practices.

I removed my original article on Comstock from Catholic Online in order to give myself time to consider her "veto session" explanation. Having considered it, I find it not only inadequate but a sad reminder of the kind of explanation used by Rep. Bart Stupak when he backed down on his opposition to abortion funding in the health care bill.

I've been told, publicly and privately, that I'm making it easier for a Democrat to win the 10th Congressional District, that Comstock is "electable," and so forth. As a Catholic commentator on politics, my obligation is to press hard on precisely these kinds of inconsistencies in the records and platforms of Catholic politicians.

That Comstock strongly supports over the counter contraception, several of which are considered abortifacients, is not in doubt. That Comstock voted against an abortion funding amendment, hailed at the time by pro-life groups as absolutely "necessary" to protect innocent lives, is also not in doubt. Her reason for that vote, however, is still in doubt.

The voters of Northern Virginia deserve an honest answer.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Politics & Policy

All for naught? FBI admits that Patriot Act didn't lead to cracking major terrorist cases Watch

Image of Opponents, with the inspector general conclude that no major cases have been broken by use of the Patriot Act's records-snooping provisions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It granted the Federal Bureau of Investigation bold new powers - but now the FBI admits that the Patriot Act didn't help them crack any major terrorism cases. The Justice Department's Inspector general Michael E. Horowitz now says there are issues that keep key ... continue reading


Karl Rove's American Crossroads no longer as powerful as it once was Watch

Image of American Crossroads began by Karl Rove and other powerful Republicans were at one time a most powerful force in American politics.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American Crossroads, created by Karl Rove and other powerful Republicans, was at one time a most powerful force in American politics. There is evidence, however, that this is changing. The American political landscape is changing, and the group is seeing the ... continue reading


Disappointing Congress: Both the right and the left ladle out heavy disapproval for Congress Watch

Image of Republicans at 36 percent are about as likely as Democrats at 38 percent or independents at 38 percent to say Congress is accomplishing less than they expected.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Even republicans have very little good to say about the republican-led Congress. Just 23 percent of Americans say congressional Republicans are keeping the promises they made during last fall's campaign. The vast majority, at 65 percent say they are not. LOS ... continue reading


ENROLLMENT ZERO: No one signs up for Obamacare in Hawaii - NO ONE Watch

Image of Suppose they gave universal health care - and no one came?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Suppose they gave universal health care - and no one came? That appears to be the case in Hawaii, where Hawaii's Obamacare Exchange enrolled a grand total of ZERO - simply no one, people during its special enrollment period. While Hawaii's enrollment was a ... continue reading


ANOTHER LIE: Hillary Clinton's email scandal grows Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hillary Clinton is caught in another lie regarding her private email account usage. According to the New York Times, Clinton used more than one private account while serving as secretary of state. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The news of another private email ... continue reading


President Obama seeks to end immigration enforcement on part of local police Watch

Image of President Obama hoped to rebut the notion that he is insensitive to the plight of police officers on the front lines.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama, while in Camden, New Jersey, said that in order for local police to rebuild trust within their communities, immigration enforcement must be taken away from state and local police and remain strictly the domain of federal law enforcement. ... continue reading


The Clintons have earned WHOPPING $25 million to deliver speeches since last year Watch

Image of Hillary Clinton has made $3.2 million from the tech sector. One of her last speaking gigs on the paid lecture circuit; she addressed an eBay summit aimed at promoting women in the workplace. Her 20-minute chat garnered a $315,000 check.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former first family, the Clintons, at one time claimed they were broke. If so, this was before last year, when both Bill and Hillary delivered 104 speeches for a total of $25 million. Hillary Clinton is especially popular with high-tech firms, who eagerly shell ... continue reading


President Obama cracks down on military equipment for U.S. law enforcement Watch

Image of Making his announcement in Camden, New Jersey, the president praised efforts by the police department to improve their relationship with a poor community struggling with violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. President Barack Obama gave law enforcement a dressing down this week - literally. Obama has placed new restrictions on the amount of combat-style equipment local law enforcement can use. The gesture is intended to smooth over relations with racial ... continue reading


'Iraq is the biggest disaster in American history,' former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright declares Watch

Image of Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright believes

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke plainly when discussing the ongoing Middle East crisis. "Iraq is the biggest disaster in American history," Albright declared late last week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I have believed that Iraq is the ... continue reading


Somebody's 'Mook?' Hillary Clinton's campaign manager interned for George Stephanopoulos Watch

Image of Yo, Mook!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

George Stephanopoulos is in hot after currently donating to the Clinton Foundation. Adding to the web of deceit, it was discovered that Stephanopoulos thanked Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook in the acknowledgement section of his 1999 tell-all ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 2:1-11
1 When Pentecost day came round, they had all met ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
1 Bless Yahweh, my soul, Yahweh, my God, how great ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:19-23
19 In the evening of that same day, the first day of ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
3 Because of that, I want to make it quite clear to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 24th, 2015 Image

St. David I of Scotland
May 24: David, the youngest son of Scotlandís virtuous queen, (Saint) ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter