2015 ICC Legislative Concerns and Priorities

By October 17, 2014No Comments

“In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.”

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Iowa Catholic Conference’s legislative agenda was formulated in consultation with its Human Life and Dignity Committee and Education Committee, and was approved by the Iowa Catholic Conference board of directors. Items may be added or withdrawn as the situation requires.



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, including:

  • Broadening financial assistance to families through education savings accounts, tax credits or other means.
  • Equitable participation of nonpublic school children in federal- and state-funded programs.
  • Full funding of public schools for the transportation of nonpublic school students.
  • Increased assistance for students enrolled in accredited nonpublic schools through technology and textbook appropriations.



We support the protection of human life from conception until natural death.



We oppose all abortions, no matter the method. When abortions are taking place, the safety and informed consent of the women involved should be among our chief concerns.


  • Limitations on late-term and “webcam” abortions.
  • Funding of alternatives to abortion through programs which assist women in crisis pregnancies.
  • Legislation for an informed consent process for women before an abortion.
  • Safety regulations and reporting requirements for abortion clinics.
  • Legislation allowing a “wrongful death of the unborn” lawsuit following a negligent or criminal act.
  • Ban on human cloning.
  • Funding of research using non-embryonic stem cells.


  • Public funding of abortion or embryonic stem cell research.
  • Legalization of assisted suicide or euthanasia.


Economic Concerns

Government should give the needs of the poor and vulnerable special consideration. As Pope Francis reminds us, “The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.”


  • An increase in the state’s minimum wage.
  • Legislation to limit predatory lending practices.
  • Progressive tax system, a just living wage, and fair and reasonable labor practices by employers.
  • Eliminating disincentives for people to improve their financial situation through work.


  • Disproportionate cuts to programs that support the poor and vulnerable.
  • Legislation that would allow for additional taxes and/or fees for services to be imposed on not-for-profit organizations.



We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation.


  • Measures to preserve, protect, and improve the quality of the air, water, and land in Iowa. The Conference supports the ability of local government to address public health concerns relating to the environment.
  • Strict enforcement of present environmental laws and adequate state funding for this purpose.
  • Strengthening sustainable agriculture, family farms, and a safe, affordable, and sustainable food supply.
  • Efforts to expand renewable sources of energy.


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 teaches that health care is a natural human right, essential to protecting human life and dignity.

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



As a people of faith, we support the scriptural commandment to “welcome the stranger” and defend the God-given dignity of every person.


  • Legislation providing for a provisional driver’s license for undocumented immigrants.
  • Legislation directing that undocumented high school graduates who are residents of Iowa be eligible for in-state tuition rates at state universities.


  • Efforts to authorize state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws.


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.


  • Amending the Iowa Constitution to recognize marriage only as a union of one man and one woman.
  • Efforts to expand family strengthening programs, improve childcare programs and increase welfare payments to poor families and children in Iowa.
  • Governmental assistance that strengthens families, encourages and rewards work, and protects all vulnerable children, born or unborn, including those with developmental disabilities.
  • Adequate funding for job training and child care.
  • Reduction in the marriage license fee for couples who participate in premarital preparation.


  • Eliminating the legal waiting period before a divorce.


Restorative Justice

Regarding criminal behavior, a Catholic approach begins with the recognition that the dignity of the human person applies to both victim and offender. Our response to sin and failure is not abandonment and despair, but justice, contrition, reparation and return or re-integration of all into the community.


  • Legislation that prohibits sentencing juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
  • Sentencing reform that will emphasize community-based corrections for prisoners who are not a threat to the community and give greater latitude to judges when deciding appropriate penalties.


  • Reinstatement of the death penalty.



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.