Iowa Catholic Conference

2018 Legislative Priorities and Principles

The Iowa Catholic Conference’s legislative priorities were formulated in consultation with its Human Life and Dignity Committee and Education Committee, and approved by the Iowa Catholic Conference Board of Directors. Items may be added or withdrawn as the situation requires. For more information on taking action, consult the Iowa Catholic Conference website at www.iowacatholicconference.org.

As Catholics, our cause is the defense of human life and dignity and the protection of the weak and vulnerable. This begins with the right to life from natural conception to natural death. From there it extends to fair access to productive work and fair wages, food and shelter, education and health care, protection from harm, and freedom to emigrate.

These teachings form the basis of our legislative agenda. The Iowa Catholic Conference has approved the following legislative priorities for the 2018 legislation session:

  • Supporting an Education Savings Account program and enhancements to the Educational Opportunities Act/School Tuition Organization tax credit
  • Supporting final passage of Senate File 359, outlawing trafficking in fetal body parts
  • Supporting an increase in the state’s minimum wage
  • Opposing Senate File 481 related to the treatment of immigrants
  • Opposing the reinstatement of the death penalty

EDUCATION

Parents have the right to choose the kind of education best suited to the needs of their children. The Iowa Catholic Conference supports public policies that assist parents in exercising that right. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2223)

HUMAN LIFE AND DIGNITY

We support the protection of human life from conception until natural death. This can include supporting legislation that reduces the incidence and harmful effects of abortion, opposing assisted suicide, and strengthening a culture of life. We promote the common good, which is comprised of “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.” (CCC, 1932, 2271, 2276-2279)

Economic Concerns

Government should give the needs of the poor and vulnerable special consideration. The Iowa Catholic Conference supports raising adequate revenues for a strong social safety net and opposes disproportionate cuts to assistance programs. (CCC, 2444, 2448)

Environment 

We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. This can include measures to protect and improve the quality of the air, water, and land in Iowa and the promotion of renewable/clean-energy resources. (CCC, 2415-2418)

Health Care

Among the causes that contribute to poverty are “inadequate measures for guaranteeing basic health care” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 447). It is in this spirit we reiterate our Catholic tradition that health care is more than a commodity; it is a natural human right, essential to protecting human life and dignity. (CCC, 2447)

We support initiatives which would make health care, including mental health care, more readily available and affordable to all Iowans, including immigrants and their children. (CCC, 2288)

Marriage and Families

The Catholic Church supports the family unit as a basic building block of society. This includes marriage as a union of one man and one woman as well as programs that help families and children. The Iowa Catholic Conference supports efforts to strengthen families. (CCC, 1601-1603, 2202-2207)

Racism

The Catholic Church opposes all forms of racism, including individual and systemic. We support efforts to build peace in our communities and work for racial justice. (CCC, 1935)

Restorative Justice

Crime tears the fabric of all communities. Restorative justice brings people together and empowers them to work for safety, services and programs that heal. The Iowa Catholic Conference supports measures that encourage justice and brings opportunities for re-integration of all into the community. (CCC, 2266-2267)

‘Welcoming the Stranger’

As a people of faith, we support the Scriptural commandment to “welcome the stranger,” love our neighbor and defend the God-given dignity of every person. A duty of government is to welcome others out of charity and respect for the human person. Persons have the right to emigrate and thus government, especially financially blessed nations, must accommodate this right to the greatest extent possible. Another duty of government is to secure one’s border and enforce the law with consideration of the common good. (CCC, 2241)

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

As we enter the public square, we expect government to recognize our First Amendment right to live out our teachings and be a good neighbor to society. The Iowa Catholic Conference supports initiatives that protect religious liberty and the legitimate exercise of the freedom of conscience. (CCC, 1738)

These commitments are a natural development of the words we hear in Scripture. We are to love our neighbor as Christ has loved us (John 13:34). We are to bring “good news to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and to set the downtrodden free,” as Jesus says in Luke, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1-2; 58:6). We look to Exodus, chapter 20, which tells us, “You shall not kill.”