Throughout the year, thousands of Catholics in Pennsylvania contacted their legislators through the Catholic Advocacy Network at www.pacatholic.org. Here is the status of those efforts on five specific issues:
“Support Everyone Involved in Adoption” — House Bill 162 would have required the Pennsylvania Department of Health to provide a summary of an adoptee’s birth record without the consent of the birth parents. The law already allows an adoptee to obtain medical records, but HB 162 would have released the names of birth parents without their consent, even if there had been a promise of anonymity provided long ago. PCC opposed HB 162, and it was not passed this session.
“Stop Human Trafficking” — Senate Bill 75, which strengthened Pennsylvania’s laws against human trafficking, was passed in part because of the messages sent to legislators by so many of our advocates. Thanks to this legislation, Pennsylvania is now recognized as one of the states that addressed head-on this scourge against the dignity of the person.
“Support Equal Education Funding” — In recent years, public school students received an increase to textbook funding even though the non-public students did not. Nonpublic schools have received either a decrease or no increase for five straight years, while the cost of providing each textbook to the students has continued to increase. PCC and our advocates lobbied for the legislature to allocate equal funding for nonpublic schools in this year’s budget, but it was not included. PCC will lobby for this equality next year as well.
“Support Expectant Parents” — This advocacy alert let our email community know about the Down Syndrome Prenatal and Postnatal Education Act, which ended up passing with broad support. It is estimated that over 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. This legislation will ensure that parents are offered resources so that they are more supported.
“Thank you for Upholding Marriage” — In May 2014, a federal district court judge overturned Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act. Gov. Corbett did not appeal the ruling. Theresa Gaffney, clerk of the Orphan’s Court in Schuylkill County, then filed a request for a stay (with counsel from PCC and the Pennsylvania Family Institute) but that was denied. Advocates sent messages of support to Gaffney and also wrote to Gov. Corbett asking for him to uphold traditional marriage.