Lansing Update
Catholic Advocacy Network Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram
CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
December 17, 2021

  In This Update:  
  • Funding For Afghan Refugees, Low Income Renters, COVID School Testing Included In Spending Bill
  • U.S. Bishops Criticize Ending In-Person Dispensation Requirement For Abortion Pills
  • No Legislative Session Until Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022
  Funding For Afghan Refugees, Low Income Renters, COVID School Testing Included In Year-End Spending Bill  

Services for Afghan refugees, rental assistance for low-income renters and COVID testing in schools were all funded in a year-end spending bill approved by the Legislature this week.

Among the more than $800 million in funds within House Bill 4398 was $9.7 million for refugee services, almost all of which will be steered toward expanding social services, school impact, and promotion of health programming for refugees.

The funding will also provide services for the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees who have fled their country after its takeover by the Taliban.

Earlier this year, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) offered support of a legislative resolution welcoming Afghan refugees to Michigan, noting that "welcoming the immigrant and upholding and amplifying their dignity as persons is a principle of the Catholic faith and Catholic social teaching."

The resolution -- sponsored by Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) and later adopted by the Legislature -- described the situation in Afghanistan as a "humanitarian crisis" and said the state's leaders have a "moral obligation" to support Afghan refugees, given the fact that "thousands of Afghans put their lives on the line to support American servicemembers, including 70,000 Michiganders, in their fight against the Taliban."

The following items in the $800 million-plus spending bill were also of particular interest to MCC:

  • Rental Assistance: Lawmakers appropriated $140 million toward emergency rental assistance to support low-income renters who have experienced significant financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of becoming homeless. The new money comes after $622 million in federal dollars were previously put toward emergency rental assistance.
  • COVID Testing In Schools: There was $150 million provided for school safety programs to pay for screening and testing activities to help schools stay open and safe. The money would also be available for Catholic schools.

The spending bill was approved by the Legislature and sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her approval.

  U.S. Bishops Criticize End Of In-Person Dispensation Requirement For Abortion Pills  

The U.S. Catholic Bishops spoke out this week against a decision made by a federal agency to no longer require in-person dispensation of a drug used to induce chemical abortions.

On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced they would eliminate the in-person dispensation safety requirement for the drug mifepristone, which would now allow clinics, medical offices and hospitals to use online pharmacies or drug delivery services to dispense the abortion-inducing drug.

The U.S. Bishops have previously pointed out that allowing the drugs to be distributed via mail and not requiring an in-person visit is a problem for a few reasons: 

"Without this information and proper treatment, a woman's health, future fertility, and life are placed in serious jeopardy," Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas, past chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has said previously.

In response to the FDA's decision to eliminate the in-person dispensation requirement, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement this week:

"Every life is sacred: the lives of mothers and the lives of the unborn. Not only does this decision further the tragic taking of unborn lives but it does little to care for the well-being of women in need. Far from the accompaniment that women in crisis pregnancies deserve, this decision would leave women alone in the midst of trauma, often without any medical attention or follow up care."

Archbishop Lori called on "leaders of every level of government to stand with women in need by promoting policies that recognize the value and human dignity of both mother and child, rather than further promoting the devastating tragedy of abortion."

For information about chemical abortions, check out this USCCB fact sheet.

  No Legislative Session Until Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022  

The last day of session activity in 2021 for both the House and Senate was Tuesday this week. Both chambers will not convene again until Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022 at noon.

On behalf of MCC staff, we would like to wish you all a blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. In celebration of the Nativity of the Lord, here is a blessing that can be said over your family's Christmas tree:

Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we illumine this tree. May the light and cheer it gives be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts. May all who delight in this tree come to the knowledge and joy of salvation. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


If this email was forwarded to you, please consider joining the Catholic Advocacy Network, which will enable you to receive regular updates and alerts.

For other news and information, follow MCC on Twitter, like MCC on Facebook, or visit MCC's webpage.

Share this with your friends!

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Be sure to visit our website at
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,