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
May 6, 2022

  In this update:  
  • Prayer; Assistance to Women Must Continue After Leaked Draft Supreme Court Opinion
  • U.S. Senate to Vote Again on Nationwide Abortion-On-Demand; Speak Up Against This Now
  • MCC Signs Onto $1.65 Billion Plan to Increase Access to Affordable Homes
  • Fund to Distribute Millions in Substance Abuse Prevention Earns MCC Backing
  • Catholic, Nonpublic Schools Among Recipients of State School Safety Grants
  Prayer; Assistance to Women Must Continue After Leaked Draft Supreme Court Opinion  

Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is echoing the call this week from our U.S. bishops to all the faithful to redouble efforts to pray, fast, and offer up sacrifices for a just decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization U.S. Supreme Court case after a draft opinion in the case leaked out to the public this week.

Furthermore, MCC and the U.S. bishops are also calling for a continued effort by all Catholics to support women in difficult pregnancies, regardless of whatever final decision comes from the Supreme Court.

The leaked draft indicated a majority of justices on the Supreme Court are considering support of a proposed ruling that would fully overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that allowed for nationwide access to abortion. 

However, the draft opinion - which has been labeled authentic by the Supreme Court - is by no means final, as the opinion could change, and so could the votes cast by the justices. No decision is final until it is officially released by the court.

With that in mind, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) earlier this week said the leaked opinion "reminds us of the urgent need for prayer and action at this pivotal moment in our country."

The U.S. bishops earlier this year also urged all dioceses, parishes, Catholic agencies and institutions "to redouble our efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, and during the early years of parenthood, offering them loving and compassionate care."

The Catholic Church stands - and has stood and will continue to stand - ready and able to serve women in need and ensure they're not alone in caring for their children. For more about how the Church accompanies women in need throughout pregnancy and beyond, see our latest edition of FOCUS.

Now, more than ever, the Church must advocate for and live out a vision for our society in which the legal protection of human life is accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children.

We must continue to pray, fast and work toward making sure all human life enjoys legal protection. We must remain vigilant against future attacks on human life, through the legislative process, the ballot box or the court room. Some of those attacks have already started, signaling that the work to build up a social order that respects human life is never finished.

And we must continue our commitment to care for the mothers most in need, from pregnancy to birth and beyond, and demonstrate to women they do not need to live in fear, but rather to know their lives are sacred and must be protected and honored alongside their children.

For more on how to continue prayer efforts, visit the Pray for Dobbs website. For more about how you and your parish can help mothers in need, visit Walking with Moms in Need's website.

  U.S. Senate to Vote Again on Nationwide Abortion-On-Demand; Speak Up Against This Now  

The U.S. Senate is once again trying to enshrine abortion on demand in federal law through the so-called Women's Health Protection Act, and Catholics are again called to tell elected officials to reject this bill.

Due to the leak of a draft opinion in the Dobbs Supreme Court case, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has scheduled another Senate vote next Wednesday, May 11. 

This is despite the fact that the bill was voted on previously by the U.S. Senate, and that vote failed.

This deceptively named extreme bill would impose abortion on demand nationwide at any stage of pregnancy through federal statute. It would also eliminate pro-life laws at every level of government.

You are invited to again tell Michigan's senators - Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters - to reject this bill. They have previously voted in favor of this, but your voice is needed to remind them of the necessity to protect and uphold the dignity of all human life.

  MCC Signs Onto $1.65 Billion Plan to Increase Access to Affordable Homes  

Access to decent housing is a human right, the Catholic Church proclaims, and one reason why MCC is supporting a $1.65 billion proposed investment to improve Michiganders' access to affordable and healthy homes.

The $1.65 billion proposal backed by a coalition known as MI Affordable, Healthy Homes is intended to ensure all Michiganders have access to affordable, healthier housing options that are also easier on the environment.

Coalition leaders today on a press call this week talked about why housing is a big issue in Michigan: People are paying more to rent, buy and live in their homes than ever before. Many low-and moderate-income Michiganders are living in substandard housing with lead paint, inadequate insulation, asbestos and other harmful conditions.

MCC works closely with St. Vincent de Paul societies -- charitable volunteer groups who work directly with people in need -- and they've said housing is almost unanimously the largest need in every community.

"Having the security to live in a stable, healthy home is a basic need and it is so crucial to work, to go to school and to protect your family," said Tom Hickson, vice president of public policy and advocacy for MCC, who was one of the panelists on the MI Affordable, Healthy Homes press call this week.

Hickson pointed out in his comments that people are forced to live in substandard housing, motels, cars or in unsafe situations for their family if they can't afford better homes or rising rent costs at all. 

He also cited a University of Michigan Poverty Solutions report that said 2.2% of Michigan's K-12 age students are homeless. In some rural counties over ten percent of students are homeless.

"This is unacceptable," Hickson said.

For more information and how you can encourage our elected officials to improve access to affordable and healthy homes through this proposal, visit the coalition website.

  Fund to Distribute Millions in Substance Abuse Prevention Earns MCC Backing  

Funding from a national opioid settlement would be directed toward helping people affected by substance use disorders, under a package of bills supported by MCC.

Senate Bills 993, 994 and 995 set up a special fund to receive money from a national settlement reached with opioid distributors and an opioid manufacturer. Michigan is a participant and will receive almost $800 million out of the $26 billion total settlement.

The legislation would set up an Opioid Advisory Commission, consisting of experts with experience in substance abuse prevention, health care, mental health, law enforcement or similar fields. 

The commission would be tasked with reviewing initiatives related to education, prevention, treatment and services for those affected by substance use and their families, in order to recommend to the Legislature how best to use the funds. 

  Catholic, Nonpublic Schools Among Recipients of State School Safety Grants  

The Governor this week announced 150 schools will receive $10 million in state school safety grants. Of that amount, $1.2 million is going to nonpublic schools, of which $527,000 was allocated to 17 Catholic schools. Here's the full list.

Last week, we reported on the latest updates on the ongoing budget process in the Legislature and spending items of interest to Catholics. This week, the full House and Senate approved their versions of the budget, and negotiations between the House, Senate and Governor on a final product are expected to follow.


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