Iowa Catholic Conference Newsletter, June 4, 2018

Primary elections are being held tomorrow (Tuesday, June 5) for political parties to select their candidates for office. Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Voter registration or a change in party affiliation are allowed at the polling place. For more information, go the Iowa Secretary of State’s website at sos.iowa.gov.

You can also visit our website for our most recent “Faithful Citizenship for Iowa Catholics” flier on voting. The document is in the process of being updated for the fall election season.

Gov. Reynolds signed several budget and policy bills last week to complete work on the 2018 legislative session. Click here for a review of the session from the Iowa bishops. The bishops’ letter addresses several issues including education, tax reform, pro-life and human services.

The tax reform bill signed by the governor will now allow a statetax benefit for donations to “529” plans (such as College Savings Iowa) that can be used for paying private K-12 school tuition. Last year’s federal tax reform law for the first time allowed withdrawals from 529 college savings accounts for private school tuition. We advise you to contact your tax expert before determining if paying nonpublic school tuition out of a 529 account is right for you. The State Treasurer's Office will be adopting rules related to the new law.

A Polk County District Court has stopped the new “heartbeat” abortion ban from taking effect while a trial takes place. In addition, the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision on a separate challenge to Iowa’s law requiring a three-day waiting period before an abortion should be coming along soon.

ACTION ALERT: PROTECT IMMIGRANT CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

The Department of Homeland Security has recently acknowledged implementation of a policy of separating families arriving at the U.S./Mexico Border. Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement in response:

“Forcibly separating children from their mothers and fathers is ineffective to the goals of deterrence and safety and contrary to our Catholic values. Family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system and a foundational element of Catholic teaching. ‘Children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.’ (Psalm 127:3) Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessing from God ...  Such a policy will not cure the pervasive root causes of migration existing in the violent areas of Central America.”

The U.S. bishops’ “Justice for Immigrants” campaign has a new action alert asking members of Congress to protect immigrant children and families seeking safety and shelter from violence by keeping these families together. Click here for the alert.

SUPREME COURT MAKES RELIGIOUS LIBERTY RULING

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided in favor of a baker who declined to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony. Colorado officials sought to compel the baker to create such cakes under the state’s public accommodations law.

Several chairmen of USCCB committees issued a statement saying, “In a pluralistic society like ours, true tolerance allows people with different viewpoints to be free to live out their beliefs, even if those beliefs are unpopular with the government.” The USCCB had filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Masterpiece Cakeshop.

CARDINAL DOLAN COMMENTS ON SEPARATING ABORTION FROM TITLE X FAMILY PLANNING

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, made the following statement in response to the news that the Trump Administration intends to separate abortion from the Title X family planning program:

“The news that the Trump Administration will be issuing new regulations to separate abortion from the federal Title X family planning program is greatly needed and deeply appreciated. Abortion always takes the life of a child and often harms the mother, her surviving children, and other family and friends as well. Most Americans recognize that abortion is distinct from family planning and has no place in a taxpayer-funded family planning program. For too long, Title X has been used to subsidize the abortion industry.”

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