- Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Parental Consent Legislation
- Second Annual Fortnight for Freedom Begins Today
- Legislature Adjourns for Summer; Says Review of Medicaid Reform Will Continue
- Other Legislative and Judicial Updates
The Senate Judiciary Committee discussed legislation this week to strengthen current parental consent law for minors seeking an abortion. Current Michigan law requires any girl under the age of 18 to have parental permission, or a judicial waiver, in order to have an abortion. However, a loophole in the law allows for girls to “shop” for a waiver by taking their request to different judges until one is approved. Senate Bill 254 would eliminate this dangerous loophole and uphold the value of the judicial process by requiring the appeals procedure to work as it would in any other court case. The bill also upholds existing parental involvement prior to a minor’s abortion, which is a measure supported by 71% of Americans, including members of both political parties, according to a 2011 Gallup poll. Michigan Catholic Conference submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 254, highlighting the importance of parental involvement in the decision.
“Parents are often the only ones with specific information about their child’s health history, which is important to know for any type of medical procedure, including abortion. Furthermore, what is a parent to do if their daughter has an abortion, unbeknownst to them, and comes home with physical complications? How will they know how to help her or be able to calculate the seriousness of the medical situation?”
MCC will continue to urge lawmakers to support the bill’s passage and will keep members apprised of further updates.
Today marks the beginning of the second Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action to address current challenges to religious liberty. Some of these challenges include:
- The August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the federal HHS mandate,
- Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage,
- Discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services.
These next two weeks are intended to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the rights of all people to exercise their beliefs in the public square. Visit www.fortnight4freedom.org or your diocesan webpage today for more information about what you can do to stand up for religious freedom and encourage your parish, family, and friends to participate.
Yesterday’s House and Senate sessions were the lawmakers’ final meetings before heading off to summer break. Despite a strong push from the governor and other advocates to vote on Medicaid expansion and reform (HB 4714) that passed the House last week, the Senate adjourned before a vote was held, citing the need for more time to continue to improve upon the legislation. Senate leadership has said that discussions about HB 4714 will continue over the summer recess, and although Michigan Catholic Conference was hopeful that it would have been done before the adjournment, staff will use this opportunity to continue to advocate for meaningful reform for Michigan’s uninsured residents.
- MCC-supported bills that provide for statewide indigent defense reform (HB 4529, SB 301) and low-income energy assistance (SB 284) have cleared the Legislature and will now be sent to Governor Snyder for his signature. Expect final updates after his consideration of the bills.
- Thank you for all your messages on behalf of vital religious liberty legislation, Senate Bill 136. It is important to keep urging your lawmaker’s support [Link no longer available —Ed.] so that action will be taken in the fall. MCC also expects other issues, such as conscience protections for faith-based child placement agencies and human trafficking legislation, will be considered at that time as well.
- In March, the U.S. Supreme Court took up two cases challenging the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the first regarding the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the second regarding California’s Proposition 8. The court is expected to rule next week in a decision that could change the future of marriage in this country. Stay tuned for further information.
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