expressed support for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014, which was introduced on July 30 by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the U.S. Senate.
“Our first and most cherished freedom, religious liberty, is to be enjoyed by all Americans, including child welfare providers who serve the needs of our most vulnerable—children,” three key bishops wrote in letters of support to Kelly and Enzi.
The Inclusion Act would prohibit federal and state officials in the administration of federally funded child welfare services from excluding child welfare providers “simply because of the providers’ religious beliefs or moral convictions,” said Archbishops Salvatore J. Cordileone, William E. Lori and Thomas G. Wenski, respectively the chairmen of committees dealing with the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Religious Liberty, and Domestic Justice and Human Development.
They stated that in some places, including Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia, some religious child welfare providers have been excluded from carrying out adoption and foster care services because the providers believe that children deserve to be placed with a married mother and father.
Finally, proponents of physician-assisted suicide are well-funded and tenacious. Those are just two of the many lessons Peter Gummere learned from his years of fighting assisted suicide bills in Vermont. Gummere, a deacon who teaches at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, shared a dozen or so lessons on the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s newsletter Ethics and Medics.
Lesson one is realize that even if you win, you’ve still got to fight.
“Proponents of PAS are in this fight for the long haul. They will persist," he wrote. "Even a stunning defeat emboldens them to try harder. The effort to pass physician-assisted suicide first surfaced in Vermont in the 1970s. It was not introduced again until the late 1990s. Since that time, it has been re-introduced in the legislature in most biennial sessions. During several of these sessions, the bill simply ‘sat on the wall’ (was dormant) in committee, but it was always there. A physician-assisted suicide law finally passed the legislature on May 13, 2013, after a long and arduous floor fight in both the House and the Senate that included 19 roll call votes and multiple ties in the Senate, requiring Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott to cast the decisive vote. Each time, he voted against the supporters of the bill. Among the maneuvers on the floor in the Senate were four separate strike-all amendments that introduced completely new versions of how the law would work.”
Other lessons to bear in mind include keeping an eye on the real issue—which is personal choice, not pain management; forming alliances with the many groups of people who oppose the practice (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, hospice caregivers etc.); focus on why PAS is bad public policy, not on morality; and learning that prayer is powerful.
And as we begin a new month, let’s keep in mind Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for August: That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights. And that Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.
John Burger is news editor for Aleteia’s English edition.