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Iowa Catholic Conference update, April 30, 2023

The Iowa Senate passed the state’s human services budget bill on Thursday and sent it to the House. Senate File 561 allocates more than $2 billion from the state’s general fund to the Department of Health and Human Services, including an additional $33 million for Medicaid.


ICC staff was pleased to see $1 million included for the Iowa MOMS (More Options for Maternal Support) program. This is an increase from last year. MOMS will provide services to pregnant women and families through non-profit pregnancy resource centers. Thanks to the many of you who sent messages through our system to legislators in support.


Unfortunately, legislators voted down an amendment to SF 561 which would have extended post-partum health care coverage for mothers on Medicaid from the current two months to a year.


The governor signed House File 570. The ICC supported the bill because it recognizes an unborn child by raising the criminal penalties for “assault on a pregnant person.”


It’s looking like the Legislature will wrap up its session this week. A few issues still hanging out there include a bill adding to the work activities and hours available to those under age 18, property tax reform, and a bill permitting Iowans to leave guns in their locked vehicles in the parking lots of schools (including private schools) and public buildings. Several budget bills need to be finished as well.


Items of note from the U.S. bishops’ conference:

  • On Thursday, the U.S. Senate declined to advance a resolution asserting that the “Equal Rights Amendment” has been ratified. “The Catholic faith teaches that women and men are created with equal dignity, and we support that being reflected in law,” explained Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities. “The proposed ‘Equal Rights Amendment,’ however, would likely create a sweeping nationwide right to abortion at any stage, at taxpayer expense, and eliminate even modest protections for women’s health and the lives of preborn children.”

  • Quoting Pope Francis who said, “Hunger is criminal, food is an inalienable right,” leaders from five national Catholic organizations joined in offering Congress principles to consider including in the Farm Bill in order to address and alleviate hunger.

  • On April 27, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State announced a series of actions being taken in response to the anticipated end of the Title 42 public health order on May 11 and increased migration throughout the Western Hemisphere. The government’s measures include doubling the number of refugees resettled from Latin America and the Caribbean, establishing regional processing centers in several countries, and intensifying immigration enforcement efforts. Bishop Mark Seitz, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, issued a statement welcoming increased refugee resettlement from Latin America and the Carribean, while expressing great concern that families and others seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border “will be subjected to rushed proceedings without meaningful due process.”


Creighton University to host online Laudato Si’ conference


Registration is now live for “Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church.” The biennial conference series is co-sponsored by Creighton University and Catholic Climate Covenant to equip and inspire Catholics to more deeply integrate Laudato Si’ and its creation care teachings into the U.S. Church. It will be held virtually over a series of evenings starting on June 14 and concluding on July 27. Sign up here.


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