Public policy advocacy is an extension of the heart of the Catholic Church. Initiated and guided by our Kansas Bishops, the Kansas Catholic Conference seeks public policies that reflect authentic Catholic thinking and priorities.
2023 Legislative Review
We are called to embrace the mission of proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed beyond the doors of the church. Public policy advocacy by the Kansas Catholic Conference is an extension of the missionary heart of the Catholic Church, initiated and guided by our Kansas Catholic Bishops. Thank you for your prayers and support.
A strongly supported bi-partisan Kansas state law prohibiting live dismemberment abortions was challenged as unconstitutional by the abortion industry in 2015. The Kansas State Supreme Court agreed in their infamous Hodes v. Nauser ruling, issued on April 19, 2019. Not only did that ruling allow live dismemberment abortions to proceed, but it also went much further saying ALL laws that restrict abortion in any way are now “presumed unconstitutional.” The Catholic Bishops of Kansas had no choice but to respond with an abortion neutral amendment—Value Them Both—that declared Kansas state laws governing, liberalizing, or restricting abortion should be decided by the people of Kansas through their duly-elected state officials and not the State Supreme Court.
Public polling leading up to the August 2, 2022 vote consistently showed VTB would pass, UNTIL the overturn of Roe v. Wade, which took place just 19 days before early voting began. That decision changed everything. Prompted by the pro-abortion fervor and fever of the news media—and a strong dose of anti-Catholic bigotry in
reporting—public opinion changed. The turnout was by far the highest ever in Kansas state history for a primary
election. 75% of the voters were under the age of 35 and had never voted before. Your efforts—THANK YOU KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS—to “get out the vote” succeeded—our data showed that we were able to get 50,000 MORE votes than we thought would be needed for a victory. Yet we lost decidedly.
In wake of the Value Them Both loss the Catholic Bishops of Kansas declared:
WE WILL NOT ABANDON THE MOMS AND BABIES TO THE ABORTION INDUSTRY.
WHAT WE CANNOT DO UNDER THE LAW, WE WILL DO WITH LOVE.
In our parishes, K of C Councils and homes, little changed. We kept on doing what we had been doing, but perhaps with greater fervor. The Walking With Moms campaign, KofC ultrasound campaigns, pregnancy resource center support and more. Legislatively speaking, we went to work doing what we could do.
BORN ALIVE INFANT PROTECTION ACT
HB 2313 declared that if a child somehow survived an abortion alive, we would be compelled by law to provide the same kind of care for that child as any other. This seemed to be an absolute minimum in terms of basic human rights. Physician and new State Representative Dr. Ron Bryce of Coffeyville Email: email@example.com carried this bill and testified that as a resident at a Texas hospital he encountered this situation 27 times over the course of three years. The Legislature passed the born-alive bill which the governor said was misleading and unnecessary. The House overrode the governor’s veto of the bill 87-37. It was overridden in the Senate on a 31-9 vote. The bill now becomes law. Please send a THANK YOU to Representative Bryce.
PREGNANCY RESOURCE CENTERS
States like Texas, Missouri, and Tennessee have devoted millions of taxpayer dollars in recent years to help support Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRC’s). We went to work to find out how this might work and if it could happen in Kansas. State Representative Brenda Landwehr, Chair of the House Health Committee was our champion. Send an a THANK YOU to Rep. Landwehr at firstname.lastname@example.org
This was a two-part bill: 1) establish the program, then 2) FUND it. Committee hearings were big eye-openers for legislators across-the-board. Many on “the left” had never heard of a pregnancy resource center or knew what they did. We brought in a mom and her baby who testified (paraphrased): “I wouldn’t be here—WE would be here—if not for our local pregnancy resource center.” The governor vetoed $2 million for this program that promotes alternatives to
abortion, which was a centerpiece of the Kansas Catholic Conference legislative agenda. The House voted 86-38 to override the governor’s line-item veto of the bill and the Senate voted 29-11 to reject the veto and the money was eventually allocated. KEEP SUPPORTING PRC’S! Many will not accept government money and the
two million will go FAST!
ABORTION PILL REVERSAL HB 2264
According to the latest available data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), 67.8% of all abortions in Kansas are chemical abortions—a two-pill protocol where the first pill destroys the environment around the baby, and the second pill forces the baby out of the mother. (Think about the movie: Unplanned). Highly profitable for the abortion industry with virtually no oversight about complications, etc. The bill required that a women should be informed that after the first pill, abortion pill reversal medication —progesterone— might reverse the process (60%-65% of the time). The Legislature passed a similar bill in 2019 but ultimately couldn’t override the governor’s veto. This year the House voted 84-40 and the Senate 29-11 to override the governor’s veto.
Most Kansans are put off by what is known as “the culture wars.” The loser in most culture war battles is whoever looks like the aggressor. This is why the secular news media goes to great lengths to pretend that entities like the Catholic Church instigate these culture war conflicts. Like the abortion issue, this is simply not the case.
Legislation connected to gender ideology in schools and in our culture have been introduced and passed in response to progressives and other special interest groups demanding that children be taught to be transgender or ‘nonbinary’ theory in schools. Bills focused on parents’ rights are a response to the ideology leading to actions like surgical gender transitions that public educators, some in the medical profession and others are pushing onto society. Would we be advocating for bills preventing the mutilation of children and pumping them full of hormone-blocking drugs if this were not happening? Of course not. In fact, we would have never thought of such a thing. The secular news media is not reporting this issue fairly or accurately.
They consistently—and falsely–frame this issue as an “attack” on “trans people.” Ours is a response to what we believe and know to be the truth of the human person, which we will always protect and defend. To contend otherwise is like saying Ukrainians are becoming more combative for no reason—ignoring that their sovereign country has been invaded. We must stand tall in face of this secular persecution.
Part of the Catholic Church answer to same-sex attraction and sexual confusion can be found at Courage International, the ONLY Vatican-approved apostolate dealing with these issues. www.CourageRC.org
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
"The Kansas Catholic Conference is your Catholic voice in Topeka. By being informed and engaged, you help us make Kansas a better place to live, work and raise our families."
– Chuck Weber, Director of the KCC
Chuck Weber, Executive Director
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