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WASHINGTON, DC – The 163 Catholics in the new Congress are split on abortion: almost all Republicans are pro-life and almost all Democrats are abortion-rights advocates.
For incumbents, we checked their voting record as scored by NARAL and National Right to Life. Typically, those who received a 100% NARAL score garnered a 0% rating from National Right to Life (which would be most Democrats), and vice versa (which would be most Republicans).
For Freshmen, we checked their stated positions on abortion, and the endorsements they received from pro-life and abortion-rights groups.
There were a few notable exceptions. Among them are Rep. Daniel Lipinski, a Democrat from Illinois: he received a 51% rating from NARAL and a 75% score from National Right to Life.
More Republicans than Democrats differed with the majority in their own party.
For example, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska agreed with NARAL 42% of the time, and with National Right to Life 28% of the time. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine received a 45% score from NARAL and a 42% score from National Right to Life. Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina garnered a score of 51% from NARAL and a rating of 85% from National Right to Life.
It is obvious that religion is not a reliable predictor of the way a Catholic member of the Congress will vote on abortion. Party matters—not religion.
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