Michigan Catholic Conference Policy Advocacy Rebecca Mastee, J.D., offered the following comments today after both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives passed Initiated Legislation 1 (IL1), the citizen-initiated Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act: “As a result of this citizen-initiated legislation, Michigan will continue its strong record of protecting taxpayers from financing another person’s elective abortion. The initiated legislation approved today will ensure, as the Affordable Care Act allows, that any health plan offered on the state exchange will not include insurance coverage for an elective procedure that destroys unborn human life. Abortion is not health care, and that fact cannot be overstated.”
Michigan Catholic Conference today filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan a new legal complaint against the federal government regarding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) objectionable services mandate. The complaint challenges the HHS mandate on the grounds that it violates longstanding religious liberty protections by forcing religious employers to facilitate coverage of morally objectionable services, such as abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization in their employee health benefit plans. A similar legal complaint filed in May 2012 by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) against the federal government was dismissed without prejudice on procedural grounds in March 2013, when a judge found the case was not ripe for adjudication before HHS finalized its rule. MCC’s new complaint challenges the final HHS rule, which was promulgated on June 28 and is set to take effect beginning January 1, 2014.
Michigan Catholic Conference today is applauding the many elected officials, law enforcement officers and individuals from the Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking who today, led by Attorney General Bill Schuette, gathered to announce the unveiling of its 2013 Report on Human Trafficking. “The state as a whole and the Catholic community in particular have an obligation to defend and promote the dignity of every human person,” said Rebecca Mastee, Michigan Catholic Conference Policy Advocate. “This report from the Commission will prove indispensable toward raising awareness to the scourge of human trafficking and the victims of these crimes.”
(Lansing)—The House Families, Children and Seniors Committee on September 25 voted to support legislation that will protect the long established relationship between the State of Michigan and faith based agencies in the field of adoption and foster care placements. Michigan Catholic Conference, the primary supporter of House Bills 4927–4928 and 4991, praised the committee for voting in support of the bills that will uphold religious liberty rights for faith based agencies and prevent discrimination against such entities. “It is vitally important for the Michigan Legislature to uphold first amendment religious liberty rights,” said Tom Hickson, Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy.
Legislation that would ensure the State of Michigan continues its partnership with faith-based child placement agencies for years into the future should be swiftly adopted, Michigan Catholic Conference stated today as House Bills 4927 and 4928 were addressed by the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee. The bills, sponsored by State Representatives Ken Kurtz and Andrea LaFontaine, recognize the conscience rights of faith-based adoption and foster care agencies and would legally protect the right for such agencies to operate according to their religious mission, as they always have.
Michigan Catholic Conference is expressing its gratitude to the State Senate for approving legislation that will reform the state’s Medicaid program by providing access to health care for low-income persons. Having testified in support of the legislation and urging its grassroots members to contact their State Senator in support of House Bill 4714, Michigan Catholic Conference has argued that health care is a basic human right that must be available to all. “Today the State Senate recognized the moral necessity of providing health care access to a greater number of uninsured residents,” said Tom Hickson, Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy.
Michigan Catholic Conference today is expressing its appreciation to U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin for their votes in support of S.744, the Border Security, Economic Competitiveness, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The legislation to reform the nation’s immigration policy passed the Senate yesterday, June 27, by a vote of 68-32 and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. Remarks from Michigan Catholic Conference in support of the bill’s passage and the votes of Senators Stabenow and Levin are below: “Michigan Catholic Conference is appreciative of the votes of Senators Stabenow and Levin in support of comprehensive immigration reform, and commends the change in direction from where Senator Stabenow previously stood.
Michigan Catholic Conference released the following statement today regarding the United States Supreme Court decision to remand Proposition 8, the California voter-approved law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, to a lower court based on a lack of standing: “The Court’s decision to send California’s voter-approved Proposition 8 back to the lower courts does not have an impact on the amendment to the Michigan Constitution that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. This amendment was passed with overwhelming support of the voters and Michigan Catholic Conference will work vigorously to defend that constitutional provision should there be an effort to redefine marriage in this state. We will continue to promote the truth that marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman, and that children have the right to both a mother and father.”
Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) released the following comments this afternoon after the Michigan House of Representatives passed a multi-bill legislative package to simplify the adoption process in the state and to address the topic of putative fathers. The comments below may be attributed to Tom Hickson, MCC Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy: “Simplifying and streamlining the adoption process in Michigan is a win-win policy for all parties involved, especially the birth mother and her child. By shortening both the consent duration and the supervisory requirements, this legislation will help to develop a greater sense of permanency.
Leaders of the state’s largest religious community and network of health care providers today are offering through a joint statement their guiding principles for Medicaid reform as the House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness meets to begin its discussion on proposed reform policies. Signed by Michigan Catholic Conference, Trinity Health, Ascension Health-Michigan, and OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group, the statement explains that reforming Medicaid in an acceptable manner is “a noble endeavor” that will benefit future generations and the state as a whole.