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Iowa Catholic Conference Newsletter, Jan. 27, 2020


Senate Joint Resolution 21, the “Protect Life” amendment to clarify that a right to abortion is not guaranteed by the State of Iowa Constitution, passed the Senate State Government on Jan. 23 on a party line vote of 10-5. The bill is now eligible for debate on the Senate floor.

According to a new poll, seven in 10 American adults support "significant" restrictions on abortion. The poll was conducted by the Marist Poll at Marist College under the sponsorship of the Knights of Columbus.


A bill will be considered in an Iowa House subcommittee next week, House File 2030, to provide for more frequent verification of income for people who receive government benefits such as Medicaid, welfare, and SNAP (food stamps). We encourage lawmakers to consider the impact to children that could unintentionally result, especially if working people who qualify for assistance lose benefits due to unintentional lack of compliance with requirements.


This week is Catholic Schools Week and National School Choice Week. The theme for Catholic School Week is “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”

According to the National Catholic Educational Association, one of the reasons our education model succeeds is a commitment to helping students grow intellectually while demonstrating how to love and serve God by serving others. It promotes social and civic engagement as it teaches students to be contributing members of their faith communities and society, in service to the common good of all.


Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. The case challenges a decision by the Montana Supreme Court to invalidate a tax credit scholarship program because families benefiting include those who choose to send their children to religiously-affiliated schools, a violation of the Montana state constitution’s “Blaine Amendment” of 1889 against aid to religious schools.

Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J., of Oakland, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education, have issued a statement:

“… But this case is not only about constitutional law. It is about whether our nation will continue to tolerate this strain of anti-Catholic bigotry. Blaine Amendments, which are in 37 states’ constitutions, were the product of nativism. They were never meant to ensure government neutrality towards religion, but were expressions of hostility toward the Catholic Church. We hope that the Supreme Court will take this opportunity to bring an end to this shameful legacy.”


The bishops have said that participation in political life is a moral obligation. Catholics are asked to participate in the Iowa caucuses with a conscience that is well-formed in light of Catholic social teaching and protecting the life and dignity of every person. We also encourage Catholics to bring planks which could be debated and approved at the caucus meeting. Click here for more information.


On Jan. 24, on the occasion of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., the Trump Administration announced that it is taking steps to enforce the Weldon Amendment, a federal law that prohibits discrimination by states against health insurance plans that do not cover abortion. In 2014, the California Department of Managed Health Care began forcing all employers - even churches - to fund and facilitate elective abortions in their health plans in direct violation of the Weldon amendment.


The “AMOS” faith-based organizing group is having a Mental Health Day at the State Capitol to encourage funding for the state’s mental health care system. It’s this Wednesday, Jan. 29 beginning with a short training at 8 a.m. in Room 304.


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