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Iowa Catholic Conference Newsletter, Jan. 10, 2020

The Catholic bishops have released a statement in support of a constitutional amendment to clarify that a right to abortion is not guaranteed by the State of Iowa’s Constitution.

The bishops said, “The dignity of the human person is the foundation of our moral vision for society. We recognize that each person is created in the image and likeness of God. Hence, direct attacks on innocent persons are never acceptable. This is why abortion is such an important issue.”

The amendment proposal is in response to a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision that found a fundamental right to abortion in the state’s Constitution. The Court’s action puts abortion almost beyond the reach of any regulation. If Roe v. Wade is struck down at the federal level, a fundamental right to abortion will remain in place in Iowa.

A constitutional amendment is needed to correct this problem. To be enacted, the amendment must pass both chambers of the Legislature in the same form in two different sessions. Then the amendment goes to a vote of the people of Iowa for approval.


The second session of the 88th General Assembly begins on Monday, Jan. 13, when the leaders of the Legislature typically address the chambers about their plans for the session. On Jan. 14, Gov. Kim Reynolds will present her budget and the “Condition of the State” message to the Legislature. The Condition of the Judiciary and Condition of the National Guard speeches are also scheduled for next week.

You can find a copy of the Iowa Catholic Conference legislative principles and concerns here. For those participating in the precinct caucuses on Feb. 3, we also have some sample resolutions to choose from to bring for consideration. Check in with caucus leadership when you arrive to check on procedure.


Globally, there are more than 70 million people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to political instability, violence, and economic hardship. Pope Francis has challenged people to move from a culture of “indifference” to a culture of solidarity, which will help them to embrace the poor and marginalized, and those struggling to find a better life.

For nearly a half-century, National Migration Week has been observed in the United States to highlight the situation of immigrants and refugees and unite in prayer to accompany them. The theme for this year’s observance (Jan. 5-11) is “Promoting a Church and a World for All,” and reflects the Church as a welcoming place for all God’s children.

“National Migration Week is an opportunity for the Church to prayerfully unite and live out the Holy Father’s vision to welcome immigrants and refugees into our communities and to provide opportunities that will help them and all people of good will to thrive,” said Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.


Last month the U.S. Congress passed a four-year reauthorization of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, which includes the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), a federal education voucher that serves nearly 2,000 students who live in Washington, D.C.

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed his appreciation for the reauthorization:

“The Catholic Church has consistently taught that children have the universal right to an education, and that parents have the right and responsibility to serve as the primary educators of their children. The Church also teaches. . . that the state has a fundamental obligation to support parents in fulfilling such a right. I am grateful to the United States Congress for reauthorizing the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which reinforces this teaching that upholds the role of parents.”


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