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Iowa Catholic Conference Newsletter, June 25, 2021


IOWA COURTS TAKE ACTION ON ABORTION, ‘BAN THE BOX’


An Iowa district court has stopped the “24-hour waiting period” abortion law passed last year from going into effect. The governor plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court.


The judge’s ruling was based in part on the 2018 state Supreme Court decision finding a fundamental right to an abortion in the state Constitution. This decision is an example of why the “Protect Life Amendment” is needed to clarify that our state constitution does not contain a right to an abortion.


The U.S. House of Representatives has rejected an opportunity to vote on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (H.R.18) by a vote of 209 to 218. H.R. 18 would have applied the Hyde Amendment government-wide and permanently prohibited taxpayer subsidies for abortion and abortion coverage. The Hyde Amendment has saved at least 2.4 million lives by preventing taxpayer-funded abortion.


In a piece of good news, the Iowa Supreme Court has sustained part of the city of Waterloo’s “ban the box” ordinance. The ordinance doesn’t allow employers to ask about an applicant’s criminal history until after making a conditional job offer. It’s intended to help people with criminal convictions by asking employers not to discard applications only because potential workers check a box stating they have been convicted of a crime. After it was passed in November 2019, a business group challenged it in court.


It’s possible that the Legislature will try to find a way to stop the ordinance. A couple of years ago a law was passed which mostly prohibited cities from interfering with businesses’ hiring decisions.


U.S. BISHOPS TO DRAFT EUCHARIST DOCUMENT


Some of you may have heard about the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops discussion last week about the Eucharist. The bishops ultimately voted to work on a teaching document on the beauty and power of the Eucharist. The doctrine committee of the bishops’ conference will draft the document and the bishops will continue their prayer and discernment through a series of regional meetings and consultations. In November, the bishops will gather to discuss the document draft.


Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said: “As bishops, our desire is to deepen our people’s awareness of this great mystery of faith, and to awaken their amazement at this divine gift, in which we have communion with the living God. That is our pastoral purpose in writing this document.”

WIN FOR THE KIDS (AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY)


The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case. The city had refused to contract with Catholic Social Services for foster care services unless they agreed to certify same-sex couples as foster parents. The Court unanimously found the city’s decision violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment as the city discriminated against Catholic Social Services because of its religious views.


The decision is a win for the kids who need the services offered by Catholic Social Services. The foster crisis is so extreme that some states are hosting foster children in hotels and office buildings because there is nowhere else to place them.


Religious freedom allows the Church, and all religious communities, to live out their faith in public and to serve the good of all. Religious Freedom Week began on June 22, the feast of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher. To mark this important event, Human Life Action invites you to watch this informative video by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne and South Bend. Bishop Rhoades also serves as Chair of the Doctrinal Committee and serves on the Religious Liberty Committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.


IMMIGRATION TESTIMONY AND DACA ANNIVERSARY


We want to point your attention to testimony from Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The testimony is a good outline of how the Church looks at the immigration reform issue.


This month also marks the ninth anniversary since Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was created. DACA allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children - known as Dreamers - to remain in the country, subject to several requirements. DACA does not provide legal status, nor does it create a pathway to citizenship, but it does make recipients eligible for work authorization and other benefits. There are over 600,000 active DACA recipients currently living in the United States and as many as 3.6 million Dreamers total, about 1.8 million of which are DACA-eligible.


In recognition of DACA’s anniversary, Bishop Dorsonville said:


“As a Church, we recognize the inherent, God-given dignity of every human person, regardless of immigration status. Therefore, we will continue to call for comprehensive immigration reform that preserves family unity, honors due process, respects the rule of law, recognizes the contributions of foreign-born workers, defends the vulnerable, and addresses the root causes of migration, consistent with the common good.”

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