Iowa Catholic Conference Newsletter, Nov. 12, 2018 - Election recap

More than 1.3 million people voted in Iowa on Tuesday, nearly 61 percent of the electorate. It’s the highest number of voters for a mid-term election ever in the state.

However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) won re-election over Fred Hubbell, and Republicans also retained control of the Iowa House and Senate. Pending recounts, Republicans lost five seats in the House to keep a 54-46 majority while they gained three seats in the Senate to hold a 32-18 majority. So we’ll be getting to know a couple of dozen new legislators as well.

A noticeable trend in Iowa is fewer Democrats being elected in rural areas and fewer Republicans in cities. No matter where they’re from, we encourage legislators to look at issues through a lens of protecting the life and dignity of all people and doing the best they can to secure the common good.

A few other items of interest from Election Day:

Democrats took control of the U.S. House and Republicans retained control of the U.S. Senate

Both Alabama and West Virginia passed ballot measures that amend their constitutions to declare that there is no right to abortion under their constitutions; Alabama’s went further in specifically recognizing the rights of unborn children, including the right to life

Oregon voted down a ballot measure that would have stopped taxpayer funding for abortion

Missouri and Arkansas approved increases in the state minimum wage

NEW RULES TO FINALLY PROVIDE CONSCIENCE EXEMPTION TO ‘HHS MANDATE’

Last Wednesday the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor released two final rules to provide conscience protections for Americans who have a religious or moral objection to health insurance that covers contraception methods.

Under the Affordable Care Act’s “HHS Mandate,” employer-provided health insurance plans are required to cover certain “preventative services” – which were defined as including all contraception methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including methods viewed by many as abortifacients, and sterilization procedures.

An exemption provided for religious employers in early 2012 was so narrow that it failed to cover the vast majority of faith-based organizations, including Catholic hospitals, universities, and service organizations that still help millions every year. 

Under the new rules, an exemption is being afforded to entities and individuals that object to services covered by the mandate on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs. These new rules should lay to rest the seven-year fight against the “HHS Mandate,” for now.

The final rules “allow people like the Little Sisters of the Poor, faith-based schools, and others to live out their faith in daily life,” according to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty.

DOCUMENTARY RELEASED ON SOUTH DAKOTA’S VICTORY OVER ABUSIVE LENDING PRACTICES

A new documentary released earlier this month by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), in cooperation with South Dakotans for Responsible Lending, follows the successful movement to cap the state’s payday, car title, and installment loan interest rates, which previously soared up to 574 percent. Last year 76 percent of voters passed Initiated Measure 21, which capped interest rates on these loans at 36 percent. You can watch the film at https://www.captheratesd.com/let-my-people-go.

AND FINALLY,

Today we observe Veteran’s Day – thanks to all those who served!

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