Lansing Update
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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
September 8, 2017

  In This Update:  
  • New FOCUS and Commercials Promote the Freedom to Serve in Michigan
  • USCCB Denounces Decision to End DACA, Calls for Congress to Act
  • TAKE ACTION: Join With the U.S. Bishops to Urge Support for the Conscience Protection Act
  New FOCUS and Commercials Promote the Freedom to Serve in Michigan  
Since February, the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) and the seven Michigan arch/dioceses have been highlighting the education, health care, and charitable efforts of the Catholic Church in this state through short films and TV commercials. The Freedom to Serve films and commercials address the right for Catholic organizations to provide services to the public in accordance with their faith-based mission, without unnecessary or burdensome intervention from the state or federal government. MCC's September FOCUS publication dives further into this topic, examining why protecting the Freedom to Serve in the public realm is important for the common good. The piece also looks at how the people of Michigan-especially the vulnerable and marginalized-rely on the services provided by the Catholic faithful and entities across the state. To learn more about the effort and to watch films on the Freedom to Serve, visit If you are able, please take a minute to share the video on social media with your family and friends with the hashtag #CatholicsServe. 
  USCCB Denounces Decision to End DACA, Calls for Congress to Act  
Over 780,000 undocumented individuals who had come to the country as youth received protection from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, created in 2012 by the Obama Administration, provided no legal status or government benefits but did provide reprieve from deportation and temporary employment authorization to work in the United States. This week, the president announced the program would be terminated after six months. He has also called on the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to pass legislation that would address DACA youth. The U.S. bishops responded to the announcement, saying: 

"These youth entered the U.S. as minors and often know America as their only home. The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and a determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education. Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation. This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans...We strongly urge Congress to act and immediately resume work toward a legislative solution."
  TAKE ACTION: Join With the U.S. Bishops to Urge Support for the Conscience Protection Act  
This week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and thirty-two other pro-life, religious, and health care organizations signed onto a letter urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to adopt the Conscience Protection Act of 2017. The legislation addresses several loopholes in current federal law, as some states have failed to protect the conscience rights of health care professionals and facilities who choose not to participate in elective abortions. The measure codifies current policy into law (the Weldon Amendment) to protect those who decline to perform, pay for, refer for, or provide coverage for abortion. It also adds a private right of action to enforce this law. In the letter, the organizations jointly say:
"Federal laws protecting conscientious objection to abortion have been approved for decades by Congresses and Presidents of both parties. Even many 'pro-choice' Americans realize that the logic of their position requires them to respect a choice not to be involved in abortion. Yet, with violations of federal conscience laws occurring in California, New York, Washington, Alaska, Illinois, and most recently Oregon, it is increasingly clear that the current laws offer far less protection in practice than in theory...[the Conscience Protection Act] would mean almost no change in the substantive policy of Congress, but it would be an enormous step forward in assuring Americans who serve the sick and needy that they can do so without being forced by government to violate their most deeply held convictions on respect for innocent human life."

TAKE ACTION: Take a few minutes to urge your U.S. lawmakers to support the Conscience Protection Act now. 

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Michigan Catholic Conference, 510 South Capitol Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48933 Michigan Catholic Conference: The Official Public Policy Voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan Phone: (517) 372-9310, Fax: (517) 372-3940,