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Iowa Catholic Conference update, Feb. 5, 2023

ALERT ON SENATE FILE 108


The Iowa Catholic Conference encourages you to contact your Senator in opposition to Senate File 108, a bill which mandates the use of “E-Verify” by businesses in Iowa. The House version of the bill, House Study Bill 105, has not been addressed by a subcommittee yet.


We are concerned that the E-Verify could increase the likelihood that employers would pre-screen job applicants to avoid interviewing those they perceive to be unauthorized to work.


HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE MOVES HEALTH POLICY BILL


House Study Bill 91 passed a House subcommittee last week. The good news is it includes the Iowa MOMS program which would help new mothers through pregnancy counseling centers. Opponents of the pregnancy counseling centers called them “fake women’s health clinics” but ICC staff defended them as places doing good work to reach out to people in crisis. We encourage legislators to provide $2 million for the Iowa MOMS initiative and appropriate additional funds for the governor’s proposed fatherhood engagement program.


The ICC opposes a section of HSB 91 legalizing over-the-counter contraception. Different types of birth control pills contain powerful levels of hormones and are currently prescribed according to a women’s health profile. Under this new proposal, a pharmacist would be relying on a questionnaire that may not be answered accurately by the patient, which could make it more difficult to adequately assess a patient’s risk.


OTHER ACTION IN THE IOWA HOUSE


The Iowa Catholic Conference is registered in support of House File 180. The bill requires public schools to get a parent’s consent to make accommodations when gender identity issues arise with their child. House File 180 has advanced out of the House Education Committee.


House File 67 passed out of subcommittee. Over time it would double the tax credit available to adoptive parents to $10,000. The ICC was one of the key groups working on the the original tax credit passed in 2014.


BENEFITS TEST


The bills creating a new problematic asset test for food stamps (HF 3 and SSB 1105) are being reviewed by key legislators both in the House and Senate. We are hopeful a better solution can be found for any concerns regarding the verification of a person’s eligibility for benefits. More information here.


BISHOPS OPPOSE YET ANOTHER PROPOSED ‘CONTRACEPTIVE MANDATE’ RULE


On Jan. 30 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule to reduce and, in part, eliminate legal protections from the “contraceptive mandate” for those who have religious or moral objections to facilitating sterilizations or the use of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.


In response, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, said: “It has been over a decade since the federal government first announced the HHS contraceptive mandate. The version of regulations that was issued in 2018 provided appropriately clear and robust protections for the exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions, free from government punishment, and has been upheld by the Supreme Court. But HHS is now proposing to amend them yet again. It is past time for HHS to leave well enough alone in this regard … While we are pleased that the proposed regulations appear, at this early stage of review, to retain the bulk of the existing religious exemption, their elimination of protections for moral convictions is disheartening. “

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