Lansing Update: Catholic Grassroots Send 4,000+ Messages to Lawmakers on Life, Education Issues
Posted October 6, 2023
Reproductive Health Act Remains Stalled — Keep Those Messages Going to Lawmakers!
The dangerous Reproductive Health Act remains stalled on the House floor for a second straight week, thanks in part to efforts from Catholic advocates like you who have contacted lawmakers with concerns over the package of bills.
To date, nearly 2,800 messages have poured into lawmakers’ offices from grassroots advocates who have used Michigan Catholic Conference’s (MCC) action alert platform to share why the RHA would be harmful to the health and safety of Michigan women and their unborn children.
Earlier this week, an op-ed from a pro-life physician was published in The Detroit News explaining the importance of state licensing and inspection standards on abortion clinics and allowing women the right to know through informed consent about the risks of abortion. Both of those protections, and more, would be repealed under the RHA.
MCC staff continue to meet with lawmakers and their staff to urge opposition to the package to keep it from moving forward.
It was reported this week that the state House Speaker said passing the RHA is a priority for the House this fall, and so continued grassroots advocacy against it is crucial. We are encouraging CAN members like you to continue to contact your lawmakers and to share the action alert to keep the messages going to elected officials.
Nearly 1,300 Messages Sent to Senators Urging Fairness for Nonpublic Schools
Nearly 1,300 grassroots messages have been sent to state Senate members advocating for nonpublic schools to be included in an expanded school meal program. This policy is intended to ensure all Michigan schoolchildren have access to healthy meals.
MCC invited CAN members like you last week to contact lawmakers to include nonpublic schools in a bill that makes an expanded meal program permanent in state law. The program provides access to school meals to every student in schools that already participate in the federal breakfast and lunch program.
However, nonpublic schools were left out of the program — both when it was funded initially in the most recent state budget and in this bill — even though dozens of nonpublic schools participate in the federal breakfast and lunch program and would thus qualify under the bill.
MCC, along with the Michigan Association of Nonpublic Schools (MANS), have testified in support of including nonpublic schools in the legislation and have urged their members to contact their state senator on the matter.
To contact your state Senator in support of an amendment to include nonpublic school students in Senate Bill 500, click or tap here to send a message now.
Safe Drinking Water Bills Backed by Senate in Bipartisan Vote
MCC-supported legislation that would ensure safe drinking water in schools and childcare centers was approved this week in the state Senate with bipartisan support. The bills next head to Gov. Whitmer’s office for her signature.
House Bills 4341, sponsored by Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton) and 4342, sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Neeley (D-Flint), were approved in the Senate earlier this week with 29-8 votes after the House previously supported the measures with wide support.
MCC has supported the legislation in the interest of promoting access to clean water and is grateful for the inclusion of nonpublic schools in the bills.
The bills would require schools to install filtered bottled water-filling stations and filtered faucets as part of a clean water drinking management plan the schools must submit to the state. Water outlets that are not filtered would need to be shut down. The legislation also stipulates the Legislature must cover the costs of the installation of water filtration systems.
New Focus: How the Church in Michigan Protects Kids, Prevents Abuse
The newest edition of MCC’s Focus is now on its way to Catholic entities across the state. Through MCC’s quarterly publication, the voices of diocesan and parish officials demonstrate how the Church in Michigan has been working to protect children and prevent abuse in the 20 years since the U.S. Church implemented widespread reforms.
Titled On Mission to Protect and Heal, the publication will give Catholics in the pews a broader awareness of how bishops and diocesan officials in Michigan have made the protection of children and providing services and support to abuse survivors a priority in the Church since the adoption of the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002.
Readers will learn how each diocese employs victim assistance coordinators, who listen and offer services to victims, and how dioceses work with parishes and schools to implement safe environment programs that train adults and volunteers to report and spot abuse.
The publication also explains the diocesan process of handling abuse reports, which require immediate reporting to law enforcement as well as a review conducted by a board of lay professionals who recommend action to the bishop for any case presented.
Print copies of Focus are expected to be arriving at parishes in the next week. To obtain a copy, inquire at your parish. Additional free copies can be ordered by contacting the MCC office.
The online version of Focus is available at micatholic.org/protectkids, which includes a PDF version of the print edition as well as additional resources, including video interviews of a diocesan victim assistance coordinator and a safe environment coordinator.
Speak Out Against Federal Rule that Uses Pro-Life Law for Accommodating Abortion
Next Tuesday, Oct. 10 is the last day to submit comments in opposition to a proposed federal rule that would mandate that employers accommodate their employees’ abortions.
The proposed regulation distorts the intent of the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act by defining the phrase “related medical conditions” to include “having or choosing not to have an abortion, among other conditions.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) had advocated for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act because its purpose was to help make it possible for working mothers to remain gainfully employed, if desired, while protecting their health and that of their preborn children.
Now the USCCB is speaking out against this proposed regulation because it directly contradicts the intent of the law that was passed. USCCB has submitted comments on the matter and is encouraging Catholics to do so as well. Click or tap here to send your own message.
This Year’s Respect Life Month Theme: Radical Solidarity
Each October, the U.S. bishops call on the Church to observe Respect Life Month to reflect on and promote the dignity of human life for every person.
The theme this year is “Radical Solidarity,” a phrase originally coined by Pope St. John Paul II. In a statement ahead of Respect Life Month, the USCCB said radical solidarity means to “thoroughly surround mothers in need with lifegiving support and personal accompaniment.”
To learn more about what the Church is doing to be in radical solidarity with women in need, we invite readers to revisit MCC’s Focus about how the Church in Michigan walks with moms in need.
This year’s Respect Life Month comes just prior to the first ever statewide Michigan March for Life on November 8, which represents an important opportunity to provide public witness to the importance of standing up for human life of all kinds, particularly the unborn.
For more on the importance of this Michigan March for Life, check out this recent article from Detroit Catholic. To register for the Michigan March for Life, click or tap here.