The U.S. bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” is underway. For more information check out the blog post on our website.

Here’s one reason why new legislation protecting religious freedom is necessary. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared, contrary to the plain meaning of current federal law, that the California Department of Managed Health Care can continue to force all health plans under its jurisdiction to cover elective abortions. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is calling for an immediate federal legislative remedy.

“It is shocking that HHS has allowed the State of California to force all employers – even churches – to fund and facilitate elective abortions in their health insurance plans. Even those who disagree on the issue of life should be able to respect the conscience rights of those who wish not to be involved in supporting abortion,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said in a statement. Cardinal Dolan is chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Archbishop Lori chairs the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

“This administrative ruling fails to respect not only the rights to life and religious freedom, but also the will of Congress and the rule of law,” the chairmen added. “As a remedy to the Administration’s unwillingness to fulfill its responsibilities, we urge Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act (H.R. 4828, S. 2927) and stop further discrimination against people of faith and against all who respect unborn human life.”

Click here for a sample message to your member of Congress in support of the Conscience Protection Act.

Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) recently agreed to be a co-sponsor of the Conscience Protection Act in the House. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is one of four co-sponsors of the Senate version.

IMMIGRATION ACTIONS REMAIN BLOCKED

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a tie vote, has let stand a lower court injunction against President Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration. These actions were intended to provide relief from immigration enforcement for an expanded group of migrants who came to this country as children, and their parents. If nothing else, the decision points to a need for compassionate reform of our immigration laws by Congress.

SIGN UP FOR THE IOWA SCHOOL CHOICE SUMMIT

The Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education (ACE) is hosting its second annual school choice summit on Wednesday, Sept. 14. It’s being held at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines.

The summit will feature nationally prominent school choice speaker Derrell Bradford, as well as breakout sessions for school administrators, parents and school tuition organization personnel. Bradford is executive director of NYCAN (The New York Campaign for Achievement Now).

At the summit you’ll find out everything you need to know about the state of parental choice in education in Iowa. Registration is free but required. Go to iaschoolchoicesummit.eventbrite.com to sign up.

AND FINALLY,

Catholic Relief Services is encouraging action on the issues of human trafficking, refugees and climate change this summer. Visit Catholics Confront Global Poverty for more information.