Wednesday is the national Call-In Day to contact Congress about immigration reform legislation. On the day which honors St. Frances Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants, Catholics and supporters of immigrants are asked to call their U.S. Representatives at (855) 589-5698 and leave this simple message: “Support a path to citizenship and oppose the SAFE Act.”
The SAFE Act would grant additional immigration enforcement powers to local governments. Other provisions would criminalize religious leaders and houses and worship that provide humanitarian assistance.
You can find more information on the Call-In Day at www.justiceforimmigrants.org.
Citing “great moral urgency,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called upon members of the House of Representatives to address immigration reform legislation “as soon as possible, ideally prior to the end of the calendar year.”
In stating the case for action, Cardinal Dolan cited the ongoing suffering of immigrants and their families caused by a broken immigration system.
He also said, “As a moral matter, our nation cannot continue to receive the benefits of the work and contributions of undocumented immigrants without extending them the protection of the law. Keeping these human beings as a permanent underclass of workers who are unable to assert their rights or enjoy the fruits of their labor is a stain on the soul of the nation.”
The full text of the letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives is available online: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/immig...
A Polk County judge has issued a stay of the new webcam abortion rule, which means that Planned Parenthood can continue to provide webcam abortions for now. The rule will go to trial next year.
The rule had been approved by the Iowa Board of Medicine. It would require a physician to be physically present while abortion drugs are being provided, rather than pushing a button following a remote video consultation.
I am disappointed by the judge's decision to stay the rule. The Board of Medicine has a right to establish a minimum standard of care for such a serious procedure. Providing a drug that causes bleeding and painful cramping at home, in addition to the loss of a life, seems substantively different than other uses of telemedicine.
FARM BILL AND FOOD STAMPS
Leaders of five national Catholic organizations, including two committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), urged the Farm Bill Conference Committee to negotiate a Farm Bill that “reflects a commitment to the common good.”
“Agriculture policies must adequately respond to the needs of the most vulnerable and hungry people, and farmers and families at home and abroad,” wrote Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace; Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA; Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services; James F. Ennis, executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference; and Sheila K. Gilbert, president of the National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
The letters cited Pope Francis’ message for World Food Day, in which the pope said, “It is a scandal that there is still hunger and malnutrition in the world,” and called for “a just and lasting solution.”
The leaders urged Congress to focus on five priorities: domestic hunger and nutrition, international food security and development, rural development, conservation and subsidies. You can find the letter at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/agric....
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamp) benefits were cut by 13 percent on Nov. 1 following the expiration of a temporary increase put in place during the recession. More than 400,000 Iowans receive food stamps.
SUPPORT FULL DISCLOSURE ON ABORTION INSURANCE
The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities wrote to members of the House of Representatives to support the “Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” (H.R. 3279), to address one part of the abortion-related problem in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The bill would address the ACA’s unique secrecy provisions. The insurer may not answer a concerned purchaser’s questions as to whether the plan covers abortions (except when it lists all services at the time he or she is already enrolling in the plan). And it may not reveal how much of the person’s premium goes into a separate abortion fund.
“In other words, not only may pro-life people have a very limited choice of health plans that do not violate their consciences - but the law makes it all but impossible for them to find out which plans they are,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston.
The legislative concerns for the 2014 session of the Iowa General Assembly were approved last month by our board. You can find them on our website at www.iowacatholicconference.org.
Iowa Catholic Conference