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 4, 2020

  In This Update:  
  • Sanofi Pasteur Produces an Ethical Polio Vaccine 
  • MCC Supports Jail Sentencing Reform in Committee
  • Labor Day 2020 "Somber" in Light of COVID-19 Challenges
  • World Day of Prayer Kicks off Month Dedicated to Care of Creation
  Sanofi Pasteur Produces an Ethical Polio Vaccine  
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has encouraged public awareness of a welcome development in the field of vaccines. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a request from the pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur to switch from using an aborted fetal cell line (MRC-5) to using an ethical animal cell line to produce its polio combination vaccines (Pentacel and Quadracel). The drug company has also chosen to discontinue production of its stand-alone polio vaccine, Poliovax, which also used aborted fetal cell lines for its production, and to retain an ethically produced stand-alone polio vaccine, IPOL. Furthermore, Sanofi Pasteur's ongoing effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine also does not rely on cell lines linked to elective abortion.

As immunizations play an important role in protecting public health, the Pontifical Academy for Life has called for Catholics to do whatever they can to ensure future vaccines are not based on cooperation with practices that demean human life. Unfortunately for some contagious diseases, the only options that currently exist have been manufactured using fetal tissue from induced abortions. Read a past FOCUS from Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC), Vaccinations and the Common Good, to learn more.

Earlier this year, MCC encouraged Catholic Advocacy Network (CAN) members to reach out to the FDA, voicing their support for a COVID-19 vaccine produced free from complicity with abortion. Now, this announcement from Sanofi Pasteur reminds of the importance of such advocacy; it can make a difference! 
  MCC Supports Jail Sentencing Reform in Committee  
The House Judiciary Committee continued to consider elements of a larger jail sentencing reform package this week. Specifically, the committee unanimously voted to move forward House Bill 5699, which would modify penalties for those who fail to produce a driver's license when stopped. If enacted, the measure would remove jail time as an option for those who have a driver's license but do not have it with them while driving. MCC supported the measure, which is sponsored by Representative Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods) and continues now to the full House of Representatives. 
  Labor Day 2020 "Somber" in Light of COVID-19 Challenges  
This upcoming Monday, September 7, Americans will celebrate Labor Day, the national holiday that recognizes the contributions of workers to the country's well-being. In light of this annual event, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on the need to rebuild after the devastation of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19:

"This Labor Day is a somber one. The COVID-19 pandemic goes on. Economic circumstances for so many families are stressful or even dire. Anxiety is high. Millions are out of work and wondering how they will pay the bills. And for workers deemed 'essential' who continue to work outside the home, there is the heightened danger of exposure to the virus...The good news is that injustice does not need to have the last word. The Lord came to free us from sin, including the sins by which we diminish workers and ourselves." Read the full statement here.
  World Day of Prayer Kicks off Month Dedicated to Care of Creation  
In honor of the annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation that took place on Tuesday, September 1, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for prayer and action in the following pastoral statement:

"September 1 marks the five-year anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in the Catholic Church. On this day last year, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to observe the Season of Creation - an ecumenical initiative that begins September 1 and ends on October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi - through increased prayer and a simpler lifestyle. Once again, we unite in prayer with the Holy Father, who reminded us that 'every member of the human family can act as a thin yet unique and indispensable thread in weaving a network of life that embraces everyone.' To weave the network of life, we set our sights on the 'Author of Life' (Acts 3:15) and pray for help to heal our ailing planet. We invite every Catholic and all people of good will who care for our common home in the United States to increase efforts towards ecological conversion during this Season of Creation. May our prayers and our witness reflect the words and deeds of Jesus, who 'went about doing good and healing' (Acts 10:38)."

Resources for responding to the moral and spiritual challenges of the ecological crisis can be found from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and from the Michigan Catholic Conference.

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