Michigan Catholic Conference’s The Word from Lansing column this month highlights a program that recently began in the State of Michigan, called Real Alternatives. This program connects women in unexpected pregnancies with support and services and promotes positive alternatives to abortion. The program has recently been implemented here after helping hundreds of thousands of women in states like Pennsylvania and Texas. Clients can receive counseling, parenting classes or adoption assistance, clothing, diapers, and formula to ensure the well-being of both mother and baby.
The Word from Lansing
The Word from Lansing is a regular column written by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) staff for Catholic news outlets. Through these columns, MCC outlines current advocacy issues of importance to the Conference and discusses the Catholic position and role in the political process. This publication complements the more regular updates provided by Michigan Catholic Conference’s Catholic Advocacy Network.
February’s The Word from Lansing column focuses on Michigan Catholic Conference participation earlier this month in the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington D.C., which was sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and designed to promote advocacy for policies that protect the most vulnerable in society. As staff and Catholics involved in social ministry throughout the country participated in the event, Michigan citizens also sent messages to elected officials on the importance of comprehensive immigration reform, criminal justice reform, and legislation addressing loopholes in federal law to protect taxpayer dollars from contributing to abortion. The column also focuses on the importance of remembering the vulnerable throughout the 2014–2015 state budget process.
With the recognition of Catholic Schools Week in Michigan and across the country planned for January 26–February 1, 2014, MCC’s The Word from Lansing column this month discusses the benefits of school choice and Michigan’s need for greater opportunities for all students and parents. While Catholic schools in the state provide over 54,000 children with a challenging and faith-filled environment, the Legislature is constitutionally prohibited from pursuing school choice policies that have proven beneficial in every neighboring state and many others across the country. The column addresses the fact that school choice opportunities are necessary and that both public and non-public schools must be supported by state leaders.
MCC’s The Word from Lansing column this month focuses on the citizen-initiated measure, the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, which prohibits taxpayer funding of elective abortions on the state health care exchange. Additionally the measure requires private health plans offering abortion coverage to do so through an optional rider to be purchased separately. The citizen petition signatures were certified by the Board of State Canvassers on December 2 and submitted to the Michigan Legislature.
MCC’s The Word from Lansing column this month focuses on the topic of human trafficking and what is being done to address this problem in Michigan. Legislation addressing a wide range of aspects of human trafficking, including improving victims services and creating tougher penalties for traffickers, have been introduced in both the Senate and the House. This legislation was aided by the recommendations of the Attorney General’s Commission on Human Trafficking and sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats.
This month's The Word from Lansing column addresses the significance of legislation that would uphold the conscience rights of faith-based child placement agencies. House Bills 4927, 4928, and 4991 have passed the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee and now await a vote from the full House of Representatives. The bills would place current practice into state law as faith-based agencies have been working with the state for decades to place vulnerable children into loving homes. The legislation would further ensure that adoption and foster care agencies will be able to work in collaboration with the state for years to come while upholding their religious principles.
Michigan Catholic Conference is launching a regular series of columns for Catholic news outlets called The Word from Lansing to promote understanding of current advocacy issues and MCC positions. The first column outlines the recent passage of Medicaid expansion legislation, House Bill 4714, and provides a look ahead to upcoming health policies that require support from Catholic voices. House Bill 4714 passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Snyder on September 16.