- During March for Life, U.S. House Passes Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Prohibition
- Michigan State of State Address Calls for Greater Service to Michigan’s Poor
- Michigan House Recognizes Catholic Schools Week With Resolution
- Religious Freedom Restoration Act Introduced in Senate
During March for Life, U.S. House Passes Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Prohibition
Hundreds of thousands of pro-life individuals from all around the country, including Michigan, gathered in DC this week on the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion. While individuals were outside marching and speaking out against abortion, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act (H.R. 7) by a 242–179 vote. This measure prohibits federal funding of abortion and federal subsidies for health plans that cover abortion. Additionally, it would require health plans created by the Affordable Care Act to disclose whether or not they cover abortion.
Unfortunately, a vote was not taken on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), with leadership calling for more work to be done before bringing about a vote on the legislation. Michigan Catholic Conference had asked members to contact their U.S. Representatives on behalf of this bill earlier in the week, and staff was pleased to see the hundreds of messages of support sent immediately to federal officials. The measure would have prevented abortions after an unborn child reached twenty weeks old, which, medical research has shown, is when unborn children can feel pain. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will continue to advocate for the bill’s approval.
To see pictures of representatives from the various dioceses at the March for Life, visit MCC’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MichiganCatholicConference.
Michigan State of State Address Calls for Greater Service to Michigan’s Poor
During Michigan State of the State speech this week, Governor Snyder proposed merging the State Department of Community Health and the State Department of Human Services to better serve Michigan’s poor and vulnerable. Michigan Catholic Conference issued the following statement in response:
“A clear indicator of the moral strength of a society is the manner by which it cares for its most needy citizens. Every person is deserving of human dignity, and state efforts to promote this right through poverty reduction should be pursued. Merging the Departments of Community Health and Human Services presents an opportunity for policymakers to enhance the assistance citizens need to distance themselves from poverty. By focusing on the root causes of poverty, which must include providing families with an opportunity for a quality education, the state can improve the quality of life for Michigan’s most needy and vulnerable citizens.”
Michigan Catholic Conference staff will continue to monitor the impacts of this proposal, especially during the upcoming budget process.
Michigan House Recognizes Catholic Schools Week With Resolution
On Thursday, January 22, the Michigan House of Representatives adopted H.R. 7 to recognize January 25–31 as Catholic Schools Week in Michigan. The measure, sponsored by Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township) highlighted the impact and contributions of the state’s over two hundred Catholic schools. Below is an excerpt from the resolution:
“[The Legislature supports] the continued dedication of Catholic schools across Michigan toward academic excellence and the key role Catholic schools play in promoting and ensuring a brighter, stronger future for students.”
The national theme of this year’s Catholic Schools Week is “Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” To learn more, visit www.ncea.org.
Religious Freedom Restoration Act Introduced in Senate
Last year, Michigan Catholic Conference advocated for passage of a Michigan Religious Freedom Act (RFRA), which would protect the religious liberty rights of individuals from government interference. The measure mirrors federal legislation passed with wide bipartisan support in 1993. The week, the measure was re-introduced by Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) as Senate Bill 4. Michigan Catholic Conference staff look forward to working on the legislation and will provide updates throughout the process.
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