Hundreds of Catholic Advocates braved cold weather and icy roads to attend Catholic Advocacy Day on February 7th. The day began at St. Michael’s Parish where attendees received a legislative briefing, talking points on bills of interest and schedules to meet with their lawmakers. Before they were shuttled to the state Capitol, attendees enjoyed Mass celebrated by Archbishop Sartain, Bishop Elizondo and a number of priests who made the journey from across the state.
Thank you to all the participants who demonstrated faithful and civil advocacy. Also special thanks to the many organizers and sponsors of the event, including Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center, Catholic Community Services, Catholic Housing Services, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Michael’s Parish in Olympia.
During the 2019 legislative session, four bills have been introduced that seek to place new restrictions on abortion. One regarding parental notification(SB 5185) was described in the January 18 Advocacy Bulletin.
Given the current makeup of the Legislature, it is unlikely that the following bills will receive hearings in their respective committees. Nonetheless, theWSCC will continue to monitor all proposed legislation that seek to honor and protect the dignity of all human life, while encouraging the conversion of the hearts and minds of our elected representatives.
The Pro-life bills include:
HB 1526, also known as the Washington Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, bans abortions of unborn children old enough to experience pain. The bill states that “there is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain by twenty weeks after fertilization.” The bill has been assigned to the House Health Care & Wellness Committee.
SB 5721 establishes regulation of abortion facilities and a licensing process for such facilities to meet. It also authorizes the state Department of Health to conduct surveys of abortion facilities. The bill imposes certain requirements on physicians who perform abortions. The bill is before theSenate Health & Long Term Care Committee.
On February 7, the Senate Law and Justice Committee passed SB 5339 by a 4 to 2 margin. The bill now moves onto consideration by the Rules Committee.
Today is also the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. She learned from the Canossian Sisters that she was created in the image of God and possessed human dignity. Once declared free, Josephine became a Canossian Sister and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering. Read More.
Last Tuesday, the Senate failed to adopt by unanimous consent the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act-legislation that would ensure that a child born alive following an abortion would receive the same degree of care to preserve her life and health as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. The next day, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chair of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging it to bring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to a floor vote and support the common-sense legislation that would protect infants who survived abortion attempts.
Earlier this week, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee asking senators not to impose a religious test for public office. The letter reads in part: “In recent months, multiple nominees to the federal judiciary have been interrogated about their membership in the Knights of Columbus, with the implication that participation in the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the country … could be disqualifying. Not only are religious tests unconstitutional and unjust, they are an attack on all people of faith and those with no faith at all.” Read More.
Ten years ago, less than 3% of the homeless population was over 60. In a one-night count at Nativity House Shelter in Tacoma in October 2018, more than 25% of shelter guests were over sixty. In King County, 36% of homeless are over the age of fifty. If you go to a homeless shelter today, it more resembles a nursing home than what one thinks of as a shelter. SB 5839attempts to address this by bringing Medicaid personal care to frail seniors and people with disabilities through a modest pilot project. The Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee will hold a hearing on the bill, Wednesday, February 13, at 8:00 am. Read More.
In order to improve safety at all schools (public and private) the WSCCsupports two bills that were approved in committee on Wednesday afternoon. SB 5514 requires that, in the event of an emergency which would require a lockdown or evacuation of a public school, that first responders notify all schools – public or private – of the same emergency. Currently the law does not require equitable emergency notification to both public and private schools. HB 1216/SB 5317 seeks to create a formalized network of regional and statewide “safety centers” that will work to implement best practices in emergency planning and response across the state.