|Volume 2 | Issue 1|
|As faithful citizens, we are called to take an active part in the civic lives of our country, states, and local communities.|
The Knights of Columbus stands ready to encourage and provide you information and potential opportunities for active engagement.
Additional resources include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and your state catholic conference. These organizations speak for the Church and our bishops and depend on the involvement of all the faithful.
|Our Leaders Stand With You|
|Patrick KellySupreme Knight|
“If abortion limitations are returned to the states, even more expectant mothers and their unborn children will be looking for help. The Knights of Columbus must be there for them. It has often been said, ‘where there’s a need, there’s a Knight,’ and we must work to provide for the needs of every mother facing an unexpected or difficult pregnancy and support her after she chooses life.”
Supreme Knight Kelly’s Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal
Supreme Knight’s Column in Columbia
|Archbishop William Lori Supreme Chaplain|
If, later this year, the Supreme Court does overturn Roe, in whole or in part, what should we as Catholics be prepared to do? First, we must be a clear and united voice that says our society and laws can and must protect and care for both women and their children. As a matter of fundamental justice, we must work to protect in law the lives of the unborn, society’s most vulnerable and defenseless members. And we must redouble our efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, offering them loving and compassionate care….”
Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Pro-Life Vigil Mass; Washington, D.C.; 2022
|WATCH: Knights Provide Lifesaving MachinesSince 2009, the Knights of Columbus have placed 1,500 ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers allowing over 1 million mothers a chance to see their unborn babies.|
|Key Legislation to Watch|
|End of the Year Business|
As the year ended, leaders in Washington were focused on several government operational items such as setting 2022 policy for the Department of Defense, authorizing a higher credit limit for the U.S. Government (called “the debt ceiling”), and funding the various operations of the Federal Government thereby avoiding a “government shut down.”
In order to maintain government funding, the Congress approved a provision called a “continuing resolution,” or “CR,” which essentially extends the time that current Congressionally approved funding is allowed to run.
To fund the Government each year, Congress must pass, and the President sign, federal appropriations bills covering the various agencies (there are 12 massive bills in total). However, at the close of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2021, Congress had not passed any of these bills for the President’s signature. As a result, Congress passed a CR to extend current funding until December 3.
In December, the appropriations legislation had still not been enacted, so Congress passed another CR to extend funding until February 18.
There are many points of contention amongst Members of Congress on the appropriations bills including taxpayer funding of abortion.
As we shared in the last newsletter, the legislation which passed the House of Representatives did not include the Hyde Amendment and other similar provisions which are decades-old restrictions on government funding being used for abortion.
The good news is that since the last package of appropriations bills to be enacted include the Hyde Amendment and its sister provisions, the CRs extend this important, lifesaving, prohibition.
|Our Members Make a Difference|
|The Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative surpassed a major milestone today, placing its 1,500th ultrasound machine through its signature donation program.|
The machine was donated to the First Choice Women’s Resource Center in New Brunswick, N.J., and blessed by Bishop James Checchio of the Diocese of Metuchen during a dedication ceremony attended by Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly.
|As Congress continues to deliberate funding for the federal government, it is important to continue making your voice heard in support of the Hyde Amendment and other provisions which prevent the use of taxpayer funded abortion.|
If you have not done so already, consider contacting your House Member and both U.S. Senators.
Tell them to support maintaining the Hyde Amendment and the more-than-forty-year policy of prohibiting taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortion.
Remind them that not only do you support these provisions, but a majority our fellow Americans favor these protections on domestic funding and three-quarters support such prohibitions on international funding.
Look up and contact your U.S. House Member here.Look up and contact both U.S. Senators here.
|SAVING thousands of unborn babies from abortion since 2009. Help us supply ultrasound machines to pregnancy centers and give the unborn a fighting chance.Donate Today|
|New Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll|
|New Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll:A new Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll released today shows that 71% of Americans support legal limits on abortion. This survey, conducted by the Marist Poll and commissioned annually by the Knights of Columbus for more than a decade, found that a majority of Americans – 54% – oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, and 81% of Americans believe laws can protect both the mother and her unborn child.Read More|
|In Episode 6 of KnightCast, Tim Saccoccia, Knights of Columbus Vice President of Public Policy, discusses the Supreme Court Dobbs abortion case.|
Visit KofC.org/KnightCast to watch the full episode and past episodes.
|Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization|
On December 1, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization concerning Mississippi’s law which bans abortion after 15 weeks.
As mentioned in the last newsletter, the Court is considering one important question: are all pre-viability bans on abortion unconstitutional? The legal line for viability is considered 24 weeks.
The justices will now deliberate and vote amongst themselves before authoring an opinion providing the legal detail and rationale for their decisions. Justices will also offer opinions concurring in that judgement and dissenting from it.
This is a long process which means the Court is unlikely to issue a decision before June 2022.
Two key Supreme Court decisions are at the heart of deliberations in the Dobbs case: Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Below is a short summary of what the Court said in Roe and its companion case Doe v. Bolton. In our next newsletter, we will explore the Casey decision to ensure you have important background as we await the Supreme Court’s possibly-historic decision in Dobbs.
Summary of Key Points in Roe v. Wade
In Roe, a 7-2 majority of the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.
Justice Harry Blackmun authored the decision which argued that the Court has taken a view of the Constitution in several cases which allows for parents to make decisions about having children and raising them in line with their views. He further noted that the Court’s 1965 decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, which struck down a state law restricting the use of contraception, provides for a constitutional right to privacy.
Blackmun took these analyses and concluded such rights encompass a woman’s decision to have an abortion and must be protected the same as other constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment’s guarantee that no state shall deprive someone of their life, liberty, or property without the due process of law.
The Court then setup a balancing test for abortion laws based on the trimesters of pregnancy.
First Trimester: states could not enact any restrictions on abortion except very minimal medical safeguards.
Second Trimester: recognizing increased risks to maternal health at this stage, the Court said states could enact provisions that were “narrowly tailored” to focus on ensuring the mother’s health and wellbeing.
Third Trimester: the Court argues the unborn child becomes viable and, therefore, the state has an interest in enacting laws limiting abortion but must include exceptions for the life and health of the mother.
The Court’s ruling 20 years later in Casey changes this model to one centered around viability—the line challenged in the Dobbs case (our next newsletter will explore this case in more depth).
Justices Byron White and William Rehnquist (later the Chief Justice) dissented in the case.
Justice White famously called the decision an “exercise of raw judicial power,” and wrote: “The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant women and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes.”
Justice Rehnquist called the Court’s historical analysis of abortion law flawed. He especially noted that when the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868, 30 of the 37 states at the time (along with 6 territories) had laws restricting abortion. He argues that if the 14th Amendment were meant to prohibit states from enacting abortion laws it would have come up and been addressed when the amendment was proposed and ratified. This argument has been made by many attorneys including those who argued for Mississippi in the Dobbs case.
|Thank you for being a KofC Faithful Citizen. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org|