Joseph O'Brien - The Catholic Times
Duffy spoke to The Catholic Times about issues important to Catholics, while Lassa was unavailable – after repeated attempts to contact her through phone and e-mail. Much of the information about her positions on issues can be found at her campaign website and various media outlets and organizations supporting her candidacy.
Faith and integrity
A member of Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Ashland, in the Diocese of Superior, Duffy said, “I intend to take my Catholicism to Washington, D.C.” “I think our faith is a part of everything we do in our lives, whether as a husband, a father, my former role as a prosecutor and now as a candidate,” he said. “My faith has a role in every aspect of who I am.”
Although no mention is made on her campaign Web site of Lassa’s Catholicism, the Web site does state, “As the oldest of three children Julie learned the importance of hard work, the value of a dollar, and that honesty and integrity are a necessity. Those are the same values that Julie and her husband John are teaching their two daughters growing up in Stevens Point.”
The difference between Duffy and Lassa on the issue of abortion is clear cut – if only because of the organizations, such as the pro-abortion EMILY’s List headquartered in Washington, and Planned Parenthood, endorsing Lassa for her proabortion stance, despite being a Catholic.
Duffy sees the issue of abortion as a straightforward case of legal protection for the most vulnerable. “I am 100 percent prolife without exceptions,” he said. “It’s pretty straightforward. To qualify, I believe that if we have the life of a mother as an issue, the mother’s life takes priority, but we must make every effort to save the life of the child.”
Besides Roe v. Wade decision itself, the greatest threat, Duffy said, to the unborn at this time is the federal funding which will allow for abortions under the new health care reform law signed last March by President Obama.
“I’m opposed to this funding and want to make sure that the Hyde Amendment is continued,” he said, referring to the annual appropriations rider which outlaws federal funding of abortion. “As powerful as that amendment may or may not be, it’s all we have right now and I want to make sure that continues so federal dollars aren’t funneled into abortions in the U.S. or around the world.”
Extending his pro-life commitment to women as well as babies, Duffy said that he will also do all he can to address the issues facing both the unborn and expectant mothers. “I think it’s important that we have programs in place for women who find themselves with unplanned pregnancies,” he said. “If we’re pro-life, we need to help women who find themselves in that situation [by providing] life-affirming options so they can choose life. Our community and sometimes our government has to get involved to make sure we support women in that situation.”
On the issue of health care reform, Duffy and Lassa agree that more can be done than what the health care reform bill which President Obama signed into law last March proposes.
“The health care in place can be better,” Duffy said. “I don’t think this is the bill that was going to accomplish the end goal of increasing access and reducing costs. There are some good things in the bill. … But if you look at this 2,600 page bill and all that’s put into it and how it’s going to reform the system, I don’t think the end objectives will take place. This is a trillion dollar bill over 10 years with $500 billion from Medicare and another $500 billion from tax increases. … It’s not sustainable.”
But at the minimum, he hopes to be able to help strike any provisions that will fund abortions with federal funding. “If we’re going to take the bill and make it more effective, one of the parts we’re going to be looking at carving out, is the part about abortion,” he said.
At her campaign website, while admitting she’s not satisfied with the new health care law, Lassa said that Wisconsin will benefit from its provisions as they stand.
“The recently passed health care law, while needing improvement, contains many positive elements that help individuals and families,” the Web site states. “It prevents insurance companies from dropping our coverage when we get sick, bans discrimination based on pre-existing health conditions, creates tax credits for small businesses to provide health care to their employees, and lowers prescription drug costs for senior citizens. These are all positive steps forward.”
I have never heard a Catholic candidate say "I intend to take my Catholicism to Washington, D.C." What an idea!!