Our office has been tracking a number of major legislative and judicial actions that affect the public policy priorities of the Catholic Church.
The "Medical Aid in Dying Act" (A.2383/S.3151) is the pending bill in the New York State legislature that would legalize assisted suicide. We are currently working to prevent the legalization of assisted suicide in New York.
For more information, see the Stop Assisted Suicide tab.
See the NYSCC Catholic Action Network for the other current issues in New York.
The Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision that prevents the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortion, except in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. The Hyde Amendment is not a permanent law, but is considered to be a rider. This means that it is attached to appropriations bills each year. Recently, there has been a push to repeal the Hyde Amendment. We are working to preserve the Hyde Amendment, so that taxpayers will not have to pay for abortion.
See the USCCB Action Center for the other current federal issues.
Myers v. Schneiderman is a lawsuit that is seeking to overturn New York's ban on assisted suicide. The lawsuit was unanimously rejected by lower courts, but is now before the New York State Court of Appeals for decision. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this lawsuit, and has filed friend of the court briefs ("amicus curiae briefs") arguing against it. Briefs opposing the lawsuit have also been filed on behalf of doctors and disabled people. For more information on assisted suicide, see here.
Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer is a pending lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding a religious preschool that was rejected from a state program that provides reimbursement grants to purchase safety rubberized surface material (tire scraps) for children’s playgrounds. The preschool was denied the grant for its playground solely because the playground belongs to a religious organization. However, every person in Missouri is required to pay a fee on their tire purchases to fund this grant program, yet religious non-profit organizations are among those excluded from participating in the grant program. This is problematic because religious people are forced to put money into the pool, but the playgrounds at their religious organizations cannot benefit from it. The legal issue at hand is whether the exclusion of churches from an otherwise neutral and secular aid program violates the Free Exercise and Equal Protection Clauses when the state has no valid Establishment Clause concern.
Zubik v. Burwell (also known as the "HHS Mandate case" or the "Little Sisters of the Poor case") is a consolidated lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court on whether religious non-profits, aside from churches, should be exempt from the contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act. As of May 16, 2016, the Court decided to send the consolidated cases back to the Circuit Courts and instructed the lower courts to work out a resolution to ensure that religious non-profits would not have to facilitate in the provision of morally offensive services, such as contraception, beyond contracting with their insurance company for a policy that excludes them. Our commentary on this decision is available here.
UPCOMING PUBLIC EVENTS
Information Session on Assisted Suicide
February 18 @ 9-11:30am
St. Catherine of Siena Church
411 E 68th St, New York, NY 10065
Co-sponsored by the Faith and Ethics Forum, the Dominican Friars Healthcare Ministry of NYC, the Frassati Fellowship, and the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of New York
Questions? Contact us!
VISIT OUR PUBLIC POLICY BLOG HERE
LEARN ABOUT OUR DISCUSSION GROUP HERE