Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

 

Helpers’ Mass and Rosary Procession
The next Helpers’ Mass and Rosary procession will be held at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church (4001 Edgewater Dr., Orlando) on Saturday, March 5, 2011 beginning with mass at 9am. Following mass we will drive to downtown Orlando process to the nearby abortion clinic on Lucerne Terrance. Please join us in praying for the protection of human life. For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice; 407-246-4819; advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org.  

CCHD Youth Arts Contest
Don’t forget! Entries for the CCHD Youth Arts Contest are due to the Diocese of Orlando by March 1, 2011. Please mail or drop off student entries to 50 E. Robinson St., Orlando, FL 32802. For more information on the Youth Arts Contest visit: http://www.usccb.org/cchd/contestmaterials.shtml. If you have any questions contact 407-246-4819; eclayton@orlandodiocese.org 

Rachel’s Vineyard Post-Abortion Retreat
Rachel’s Vineyard Post-Abortion Retreat will be held May 20-22 at San Pedro Center, Winter Park.  If you have experienced abortion and need healing, community and the love of God, this retreat is for you.  For more information or to register for this confidential weekend, please contact Karen Reilly at 321-662-5097 or email karenreilly57@gmail.com.  

2010: Among the Warmest Years on Record, Insurance Losses Staggering
In a report to its reinsurance committee, the chairman of Munich Re said, “Fire, water, earth and air—the four basic elements have seldom been so destructive as in 2010,” as reported in ClimateWire.  Global losses came to $150 billion (earthquakes comprised one-third of this total…clearly not climate related) and insurers paid out $37 billion in claims.  The World Meteorological Organization expects 2010 to be the third warmest year globally since records began in 1850.  As scientists have predicted, global climate change will continue to create extreme weather events.

For the Catholic community, our concern is for those who don’t have the resources to recover from their losses.  We think especially of the millions of people dislocated by the epic floods in Pakistan, the raging fires near Moscow or those in and around Nashville, Tennessee and thank you for your generosity to Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services.  As climate change continues, we must all become more diligent about lessening our carbon footprint and remember in solidarity those who are under our footprint. 

US Catholic Bishops Have It Right, Says Hindu Leader
Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, commended this month’s global climate change policy statement of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) which says, “Policies addressing global climate change should enhance rather than diminish the economic situation of people in poverty.”  In a visit to Nevada, Zed argued that affluent countries of the world should do more for environment in view of the global ecological crisis.  He agreed with the U.S. Catholic Conference that, “Policies should help vulnerable populations here and abroad adapt to climate impacts and actively participate in these efforts” and “Urgent action that both addresses the growing impact of climate change and acts to protect the poor and vulnerable is needed.” Read more here.
Find the USCCB’s Public Policy Briefing Paper on Climate Change here

Irish Bishops Council for Justice and Peace/Irish Aid Agency Call for Greater Solidarity
As Ireland heads towards elections, the Irish bishops’ Council for Justice and Peace urged people of good will to remember the central theme of human life and human dignity that extends from conception through natural death and includes poverty relief and support for families.  Recognizing Ireland’s obligations to poorer countries, Bishop John Kirby of Clonfert, a council member and chairman of Trócaire (the Irish bishops’ overseas relief agency) noted that, “Over the past few years the overseas aid budget of the Irish government has been cut on three occasions. It is now €284 million ($388 million) less than what it was in 2008,” an amount that does not live up to Ireland’s, “commitment to giving 0.7% of our gross national product to overseas development aid…We have a responsibility in this globalized world for people struggling with poverty, environmental degradation and conflict in other parts of the planet.” 

Advocacy Efforts: 

Markup Scheduled for H.R. 3 
On January 20, Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) reintroduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3). The measure already has 208 other sponsors. 

On February 8, the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on H.R. 3. On Wednesday, March 2, at 10:00 am, the full Judiciary Committee is scheduled to markup the bill. Opponent of H.R. 3 are expected to offer amendments to weaken and defeat the measure.

Click here to see NCHLA’s Action Alert on H.R. 3. All Representatives need to hear from their pro-life constituents, but it is especially important to implement the alert if your Representative serves on the full Judiciary Committee. See the committee list here

Appropriations CR Passes House 
In the early hours of February 19, the House passed the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (H.R. 1), a measure to appropriate funding for the remainder of the current fiscal year. A short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) authorizing government funding is set to expire on March 4.

A number of amendments to H.R. 1 affecting abortion funding policies were proposed for floor consideration. Most were withdrawn. On February 18, an amendment (#11) offered by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) to deny funding to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and 102 named affiliates passed, 240-yes, 185-no, 1-present (Roll Call 93).                                  

As introduced, H.R. 1 contains several notable provisions that remained in the bill when passed:

  • A ban on the use of all appropriated monies, federal and local, to pay for abortion on request in the District of Columbia (Sec. 1590);
  • A ban on all funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the deletion of an existing $55 million earmark for UNFPA (Sec. 2122(e)(1)); 
  • The Mexico City Policy as appropriations law (no funding for foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions as a method of family planning) (Sec. 2122(e)(2));
  • The elimination of all funding for Title X family planning programs (the fiscal year 2010 funding level was $317,391,000) (Sec. 1809(a)(2));
  • $440 million for international family planning, a figure lower than the $648 million for fiscal year 2010 (Sec. 2122(e)(1)).                           

The Senate is yet to act on this matter. H.R. 1, or another CR, must be signed into law no later than March 4, for the government to have the required funding authority.