Virginia Catholic Conference, Abortion, and the Tenth Amendment

Virginia Catholic Conference, Abortion, and the Tenth Amendment

[What Mary Ann says about the Virginia Catholic Conference is applicable to most state Catholic conferences and much of what comes out of the USCCCP in DC! – AQ moderator Tom] 

My pastor recently asked me if I would be the point of contact in the parish for the Virginia Catholic Conference (VCC) which is basically the Catholic lobby group for the two Virginia dioceses, Arlington and Richmond. I rarely say yes to anything without giving it serious consideration and research, so I’ve been examining the VCC website and looking at their 2018 legislative agenda.

Not surprisingly, their agenda is filled with issues that are questions of prudential judgment (on things like immigration, gun control, consumer protection, etc.) rather than issues involving non-negotiable moral imperatives like abortion and same sex “marriage”; but I’ll set that aside for a moment.

What attracted my attention was one of the issues in the pro-life category which reads, “Banning state funding of all abortions not required by federal law.” What? Don’t we want to ban abortions “required by federal law?” The issue has a footnote which reads, “Under the Medicaid Program, the federal government funds abortions when the life of the eligible woman is at risk and in cases of rape and incest. States are permitted, but not required, to spend their own funds (with no federal match) for abortions that fall outside these three categories. Conference advocacy seeks to prohibit government funding of abortion to the greatest extent possible.”

That had me scratching my head. Should Catholics support funding abortions “required by federal law.” Perhaps it’s just awkward wording since the feds, under Medicaid, pay for the abortions in question not the state of Virginia; but the implication is that federal law rules. Really?

And does Virginia comply with federal laws on abortion?

Yes. In fact, the state goes beyond it, providing abortion for “fetal impairment.” The Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm, describes Virginia’s abortion policy:

Every baby in the womb should be protected by law!

In Virginia, the following restrictions on abortion were in effect as of January 1, 2018:

  • Most woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion, and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided.
  • Health plans offered in the state’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act can only cover abortion if the woman’s life is endangered, or in cases of rape or incest.
  • Abortion is covered in insurance policies for public employees only in cases of life endangerment, rape, incest or fetal impairment.
  • The parent of a minor must consent and be notified before an abortion is provided.
  • Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape, incest or fetal impairment.
  • A woman must undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before obtaining an abortion; the provider must offer her the option to view the image.
  • An abortion during the third trimester may be performed only if the woman’s life or health is endangered.

Most states follow the federal mandate. Some offer and pay for wider access to abortion.  So the question is, must states follow the federal mandate? And shouldn’t Catholic groups stand in total opposition working to eliminate abortion from state health plans and insurance policies? In 1994, under a Clinton Administration directive to pay for rape and incest abortions, Utah refused while several other states said it should be optional and the states should decide what they’ll pay for.

Which leads to another question. Are states, in fact, required to follow federal mandates, funded or unfunded? It appears that the VCC has no problem fighting other federal mandates, on immigration, for example. They oppose “efforts to force local law enforcement to sacrifice their own resources and level of trust within communities in order to do the federal government’s job of enforcing immigration laws.” So while the Conference recognizes the federal mandate that encourages paying for abortion for rape and incest; they resist the federal mandate on illegal aliens. Inconsistent at best.

And that brings me to the 10th amendment of the Constitution which reads:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

May the states refuse to comply with Federal mandates under the 10th amendment? According to the Cato Institute, no bastion of conservatism, yes in some cases. I don’t agree with everything in the linked article, for instance, the Supreme Court is NOT the ultimate authority under the Constitution, as the author says. Congress actually has the power to remove issues from the purview of the courts, but the spineless wonders in that body seem to care only about the next election and their stock portfolios.

The Tenth Amendment Center discusses mandates and nullification and makes it clear that non-cooperation by the states is an important element in defying the evils being implemented by the feds. Unfortunately, many state political bodies are bribed and blackmailed into cooperation not only by the feds withholding funds but by economic threats from private bodies like Disney and the NFL.

And now back to the Virginia Catholic Conference. I don’t deny they do some good work on pro-life issues. Just this week I got an alert to contact my delegate to support putting a state Hyde Amendment in the budget. So how can they imply to Catholics that Virginians are forced to accept the federal approach to murdering little ones conceived by rape and incest while resisting the federal call to use local police to arrest illegal aliens in our community? (Oh…they also want illegals to be eligible for drivers’ licenses!) Why doesn’t their legislative agenda on abortion read simply, “Banning state funding of all abortions”? That is, in fact, the Catholic position. Abortion is always and everywhere a grievous violation of the moral law.

And another puzzlement. Many states are calling for defunding Planned Parenthood, but that isn’t in the VCC agenda either. Why not? It passed both houses in 2017 only to be vetoed by Governor McAuliffe. Why isn’t it on the agenda for 2018? Make our new liberal governor face the issue as well! (To be fair the VCC did criticize McAuliffe’s veto. But is that really enough when a professed Catholic commits such an appalling public scandal? Shouldn’t our Virginia bishops have called out Tim Kaine for his recent vote against banning abortions after 20 weeks on babies capable of pain?)

Sad to say, this is typical of progressive Catholics who take as a given that banning abortion, a non-negotiable moral imperative, isn’t possible. They give a pass to the pro-abortion politicians and then move on to the progressive issues like providing illegal aliens in-state funding at Virginia colleges and getting more tax dollars for a wide range of liberal causes.

USCCB bureaucrats undermine the faith here!

Is it surprising? Not a bit. Let’s face it, most of the bishops in the U.S. are Democrats who look at politics more as liberals than as Catholics. They refuse to take action against the scandals of Catholic politicians with rare exceptions, like Bishop Paprocki of Springfield who said Senator Richard Durbin may not be admitted to Communion in his diocese. (Thank you, Bishop Paprocki!) Unfortunately, he is among the few and the brave who care more about Almighty God than the almighty world of power and prestige. Most of the bishops in the U.S. are cowards or worse. All you have to do to understand that is peruse the bishops’ website and check out the backgrounds of the folks manning the bureaucracy many of whom are out and proud enthusiasts for intrinsic moral evils. Check out the Lepanto Institute and their research on the bishops “charities” which are up to their necks in cooperation with evil like the CCHD and Catholic Relief Services.

[N.B. Did you know that about 8% of the Church Offertory Collection goes to the chancery and a portion of that goes to the USCCB? You help to pay for that monstrosity on 4th Street in D.C. every time you drop your envelope in the basket. Want out? Give to the parish through their development fund.]

Something tells me that working with the Virginia Catholic Conference is NOT in my future.

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