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
March 1, 2019

  In This Update:  
  • Born-Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act Fails in U.S. Senate 
  • USCCB Commends "The Protect Life Rule" from DHHS 
  • Governor to Present State Budget Recommendations 
  • Vatican Summit on Protection of Minors Comes to a Close
  Born-Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act Fails in U.S. Senate  
Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S. 311). The bill would have prohibited infanticide by ensuring that a child born alive following an abortion would receive the same degree of care to preserve his or her life and health as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. The Senate rejected a motion to advance the bill on a vote of 53 to 44, with 3 abstaining from voting. In the Senate, 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster and pass a bill so that it can continue to the House of Representatives. Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters voted against continuing the legislation forward. In a statement after the Senate's rejection of the motion, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote: 

"There should be no bill easier for the Senate to pass than one that makes clear that killing newborn babies is wrong and should not be tolerated. That even one senator, let alone 44 senators voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is an injustice that should horrify and anger the American people and commit us to decisive political action. A vote against this bill is a vote to extend Roe v. Wade's license for killing unborn children to killing newborn babies. The American people, the vast majority of whom support this bill, must demand justice for innocent children."

Note: A federal measure was signed into law in 2002 called the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. The goal of the bipartisan law was to protect children born alive following an abortion (similar to S. 311). Unfortunately, the 2002 act did not include criminal penalties for doctors and did not impose specific requirements on medical care, which makes the law difficult to enforce. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, recently considered by the U.S. Senate, would have included those additional elements.
  USCCB Commends "The Protect Life Rule" from DHHS  
Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it had finalized "The Protect Life Rule," which regulates the federal Title X family planning program. The Rule requires clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement commending HHS:

"I applaud the Trump Administration for reaffirming that abortion is not family planning. Abortion ends the lives of families' most vulnerable members, as well as damaging the spiritual, mental and physical health of mothers. Although the USCCB continues to have strong objections to government promotion and funding of contraceptives, we have long supported enforcement of the abortion funding restrictions in Title X, and we are pleased to see that the Administration has taken seriously its obligation to enforce those restrictions. We are also grateful that this rule eliminates the requirement that doctors in Title X clinics refer and counsel for abortion, which previously ensured that all Title X clinics and staff had a close connection with abortion."
  Governor to Present State Budget Recommendations  
Next Tuesday, March 5, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer will appear before a joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. During this meeting, she will present her budget recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2020 state budget (October 2019-September 2020). Once the governor proposes her budget recommendations, both the House and Senate will begin building their own departmental budgets through their respective appropriations committees and subcommittees. Michigan Catholic Conference will monitor the recommendations closely and update members on advocacy items of interest as the budget process continues forward.
  Vatican Summit on Protection of Minors Comes to a Close  
In last week's Lansing Update, MCC wrote about a worldwide summit held at the Vatican on the protection of minors in the Catholic Church. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB, attended along with other Catholic leaders, including presidents of bishops' conferences from around the world. Cardinal DiNardo issued a statement following the close of the meeting, saying:

"Enhanced by what I experienced here, we will prepare to advance proposals, in communion with the Holy that my brother bishops can consider them at our June General Assembly. There is an urgency in the voice of the survivors to which we must always respond. I am also aware that our next steps can be a solid foundation from which to serve also seminarians, religious women, and all those who might live under the threat of sexual abuse or the abuse of power."

Learn more about the event at To learn more about what the U.S. Catholic Church currently does to protect against abuse and to help bring abusers to justice, click here.

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