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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
January 29, 2021
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • Across the Country, Pro-Life Citizens Send Message That All Are Valued 
  • U.S. Bishops Decry President Biden's Order to Promote and Fund Abortion Overseas
  • Governor Delivers State of the State; MCC Committed to Mission-Based Advocacy
  • State Legislature Passes Catholic Schools Week Resolutions
  • Michigan Nonpublic School Students Benefit from First Robotics Grants
  • Biden Administration's Roe v. Wade Statement is "Disturbing and Tragic"
  • USCCB Grateful for Early Actions to Address Urgent Food and Housing Needs
 
  Across the Country, Pro-Life Citizens Send Message That All Are Valued  
 
This week, pro-life individuals gathered at the State Capitol in Lansing for the Michigan March for Life. The event commemorated the immense and tragic loss of life that has resulted from the 1973 cases legalizing abortion in the United States: Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Throughout the Michigan March this year, which was attended by Bishop Earl Boyea of the Diocese of Lansing, people of all ages came together to pray for the unborn and to speak out about the dignity of all human life. Many carried signs with messages such as "Love Them Both," "It's Not a Choice, It's a Human Being," and "Women's Rights Begin in the Womb." Others participated in local, state, and national events with the same goals, including the Nationwide Prayer Vigil for Life that was conducted virtually this year. 

Upcoming opportunities for pro-life action:
  • Today (January 29), the annual March for Life will take place in Washington DC-although it will look different this year due to COVID-19 safety protocols-and will offer online coverage starting at 12:00 pm. A number of Masses and events dedicated to the sanctity of human life will take place throughout the day and evening and will be available online. Those interested in participating can find these opportunities at 9 Days for Life: Livestream Events.
     
  • Women deserve better than abortion; they deserve support. Interested in ways to help wrap pregnant women and mothers in need with love, care, and assistance? Learn more about the Walking With Moms in Need initiative and ways to incorporate it in your local area at www.walkingwithmoms.com/.
 
  U.S. Bishops Decry President Biden's Order to Promote and Fund Abortion Overseas  
 
On Thursday, January 28, President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing U.S. taxpayer funds to be sent to organizations that both promote and provide abortions in developing countries. The order overturns the policy of the previous administration-also known as the Mexico City or Promoting Life in Global Health Policy-which had separated abortion from family planning activities and ensured U.S. taxpayer dollars only went to organizations that agreed to provide health services in a way that respected the dignity of all persons. After the order was announced, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) expressed their sadness and disappointment at the decision, saying: 
 
"It is grievous that one of President Biden's first official acts actively promotes the destruction of human lives in developing nations. This Executive Order is antithetical to reason, violates human dignity, and is incompatible with Catholic teaching. We and our brother bishops strongly oppose this action. We urge the President to use his office for good, prioritizing the most vulnerable, including unborn children. As the largest non-government health care provider in the world, the Catholic Church stands ready to work with him and his administration to promote global women's health in a manner that furthers integral human development, safeguarding innate human rights and the dignity of every human life, beginning in the womb. To serve our brothers and sisters with respect, it is imperative that care begin with ensuring that the unborn are free from violence, recognizing every person as a child of God. We hope the new administration will work with us to meet these significant needs."
 
  Governor Delivers State of the State; MCC Committed to Mission-Based Advocacy  
 
This week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer virtually delivered her annual State of the State address, outlining her reflections about how Michiganders are doing along with some of her future priorities and projects. As a mission-based nonpartisan advocacy organization, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) will continue to work with state-level officers and elected officials from both parties in order to advance the common good. Find more information about MCC's ten guiding advocacy principles for the 2021-2022 legislative session here.
 
  State Legislature Passes Catholic Schools Week Resolutions  
 
On Wednesday, the Michigan Senate adopted Senate Resolution 6 of 2021, sponsored by Senator Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Twp.), to recognize January 31-February 6 as Catholic Schools Week in Michigan. In part, the resolution reads: "The common good of the state of Michigan is strengthened through the continued existence of Catholic schools." SR 6 also mentioned the important role Catholic schools have played in educating children during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that they have "provided nearly uninterrupted instruction to their students during state-mandated pandemic school building closures." On Thursday, the Michigan House of Representatives passed an identical measure, House Resolution 21 of 2021, which was sponsored by Representative Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Twp.). The resolution mentions the important relationships that are formed in Catholic schools with the family for the benefit of the entire community, saying: "Catholic schools create a supporting partnership with each student's family, encouraging the involvement of parents in the education of their children, so that Catholic schools form productive lives which benefit future generations." MCC is grateful to both lawmakers for recognizing Catholic Schools Week and the important contributions of Catholic schools.
 
  Michigan Nonpublic School Students Benefit from First Robotics Grants  
 
This week, the Michigan Department of Education announced that it would be awarding $298,000 in First Robotics grant funding to nonpublic schools, which was made available through the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year state budget. The grant helps students from nonpublic schools develop science and engineering skills through participation in First Robotics competitions. Michigan Catholic Conference has advocated for the grant throughout the past several budget cycles and is pleased to see the appropriation will again assist Michigan nonpublic students with expenses such as registration fees for competitions and stipends for coaches.
 
  Biden Administration's Roe v. Wade Statement is "Disturbing and Tragic"  
 
The USCCB has called for Catholics to hold elected officials accountable for their actions, especially when those actions are in conflict with the values and teachings of the faith. In that spirit, the bishops spoke out last week on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton to criticize the administration's comments in support of abortion.  More specifically, President Biden and Vice President Harris called the decisions legalizing abortion an advancement of women's rights and health. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities responded:

"It is deeply disturbing and tragic that any President would praise and commit to codifying a Supreme Court ruling that denies unborn children their most basic human and civil right, the right to life, under the euphemistic disguise of a health service. I take this opportunity to remind all Catholics that the Catechism states, 'Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.' Public officials are responsible for not only their personal beliefs, but also the effects of their public actions. Roe's elevation of abortion to the status of a protected right and its elimination of state restrictions paved the way for the violent deaths of more than 62 million innocent unborn children and for countless women who experience the heartache of loss, abandonment, and violence. We strongly urge the President to reject abortion and promote life-affirming aid to women and communities in need."
 
  USCCB Grateful for Early Actions to Address Urgent Food and Housing Needs  
 
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have announced increased protections and aid for those facing food and housing insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement:

"We are grateful for the Biden Administration's early actions to address urgent food and housing needs for those experiencing hardship during the COVID pandemic. The extension of the CDC's eviction moratorium is a positive step towards ensuring housing stability and keeping our communities safe. Tens of millions are behind on rent payments and would be vulnerable to losing their homes without this protection. It would be detrimental to the wellbeing of all if more people became homeless in the midst of this public health crisis. Additionally, the USDA's efforts to expand nutrition assistance at a time when people have experienced dramatic income reductions or job loss will help address the unprecedented levels of hunger among children and will ensure emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits reach those most at risk of food insecurity. These actions demonstrate a strong commitment to those in need. In our ongoing advocacy with Congress on COVID-19 relief, we have consistently emphasized that adequate nutrition and decent housing are basic rights under Catholic Social Teaching. These rights require action. We continue to call on our government to pursue the common good and prioritize the poor and vulnerable during this challenging time."

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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, publicpolicy@micatholic.org