The call to welcome the stranger plays an important role in the lives of faithful Christians and has a particularly central place in the Year of Mercy. “People often forget that the Holy Family themselves were refugees fleeing into Egypt,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration. “Likewise, refugees around the world, all of whom are extremely vulnerable, are fleeing for their lives. As Catholics, we are called to welcome and support these families who also need our help.”
As part of the 2016 National Migration Week celebration, the USCCB established a small grant program that will provide Catholic parishes, schools and other organizations funding to help them better integrate the Church’s teaching on migration into new or existing programs, materials, events and other activities. Grant recipients will be announced during National Migration Week.
The observance of National Migration Week began over 25 years ago by the U.S. bishops to give Catholics an opportunity to take stock of the wide diversity of peoples in the Church and the ministries serving them. The week serves as both a time for prayer and action to try and ease the struggles of immigrants, migrants and vulnerable populations coming to the United States.
Dioceses across the country including Chicago, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; Jackson, Mississippi; and Metuchen, New Jersey; have planned special events and Masses throughout the week.
Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are available for download at www.usccb.org/nationalmigrationweek. Posters, prayer cards, and booklets are available through the USCCB publishing service at www.usccbpublishing.org
SB 2107, the “mainframe” bill which adopts much of the uniform act on human trafficking and includes language preventing funds for victims services from being used to refer for our counsel in favor of abortion was given final approval by the Senate yesterday. It now goes to Governor Dalrymple for his signature.
SB 2199, which provides needed services to victims of trafficking still needs Senate approval.
To see why SB 2199 is so important, check out this story from the Bismarck Tribune.
On Wednesday, the House passed three important bills to address human trafficking in the state.
SB 2107 is the “mainframe” bill which adopts much of the uniform act on human trafficking and includes language preventing funds for victims services from being used to refer for our counsel in favor of abortion.
SB 2199 appropriates funding to help fund desperately needed services for victims of human trafficking.
SB 2275 makes it a crime for a human trafficker to force a victim to have an abortion.
All three bills passed unanimously. SB 2275 will go the governor. The Senate will need to consider whether to concur to changes the House made to SB 2107 and SB 2199.
Christopher Dodson, the Executive Director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, told the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday that Senate Bill 2107 would serve as the “mainframe” of the state’s efforts to combat human trafficking. Human trafficking, he reminded the committee, violates the dignity of the human person and is a crime against humanity.
Dodson provided clarifications about language added to the bill by the Senate that prevents tax dollars appropriated to help victims of trafficking from being used to refer women for abortions. The purpose of the amendment, which was proposed by the North Dakota Catholic Conference, was to “prevent controversies about abortion and tax dollars rather than inserting them into the discussion on human trafficking.”
“The language in SB 2107 is preventive. By securing the status quo it takes the abortion issue “off the table” and allows for the bill’s passage and implementation,” said Dodson.
In addition to his written testimony, Dodson provided information to assist the committee on the bill’s “safe harbor” provision. The provision provides immunity to minors from charges of prostitution. The purpose of the amendment is to make victims more comfortable when it comes to working with law enforcement and help secure evidence against traffickers. Some feel, however, that immunity will prevent victims from accessing the services available in the juvenile justice system.
Dodson stated that whether the safe harbor provision is the best policy is a matter of prudential judgment, but that the conference is comfortable with the provision partly because most ethicists and the law take the position that a minor cannot truly consent to sexual acts.
The conference’s testimony in support of SB 2107 is here: http://ndcatholic.org/testimony2015/sb2107house201/index.html
The House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the bills related to human trafficking and prostitution. The North Dakota Catholic Conference supports all these bills.
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appropriation to the attorney general for a human trafficking victims treatment and support services pilot project
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Relating to a forced or coerced abortion performed on a victim of human trafficking
House Human Services
Fort Union Room
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Relating to the Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking;
This bill includes language preserving the state policy of not funding referrals for abortions. Abortion advocates want to remove the language and use tax dollars for abortion referrals. Contact the House Judiciary members and urge them to vote NO on any amendment to remove the “No tax dollars for abortion referrals” provision. Read more about the provision here.
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Relating to the statute of limitations for the crime of human trafficking.
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Relating to facilitating prostitution.
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Relating to the inclusion of human trafficking in the definition of disorderly conduct and the definition of a deprived child.
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Relating to the use of minors in sexual performances
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Relating to an offender education program; to amend and reenact section 12.1-29-06 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to hiring an individual to engage in sexual activity.
Human trafficking is a serious problem that the North Dakota Legislature must immediately address with stronger laws and programs that help victims.
But abortion advocates want to use the issue to make unprecedented inroads when it comes to using taxpayer money.
Read the rest . . .
Senate Bill 2107 is the main bill this session to address human trafficking in North Dakota. The North Dakota Catholic Conference supports this very important bill.
Planned Parenthood and its abortion lobby are attempting to use the bill to expand abortion in North Dakota at taxpayer expense. To make the bill consistent with North Dakota law, the Senate added an amendment to the bill that ensures that tax money intended to help victims of human trafficking will not be used to counsel in favor of, or refer for, abortions.
Planned Parenthood is working to get the amendment removed. It wants your tax dollars to fund its abortion agenda and is trying to use the human trafficking bill to advance its scheme.
Please contact your state senator and urge him or her to (1) Vote Yes on SB 2107 and (2) oppose removing the no taxpayer funding for abortion counseling provision.
When: Now. The senate could vote on the bill later this week.
Where: North Dakota Senate
Message: Please vote Yes on SB 2107 and oppose removing the no taxpayer funding for abortion counseling provision. We must stop human trafficking. The bill should not be used to expand abortion with tax dollars.
North Dakota Catholic Conference Executive Director Christopher Dodson testified today in support of a bill to provide a criminal penalty to human traffickers who force a victim to have an abortion.
The bill, SB 2275, is being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Read the testimony. . .
photo by S. Aberle
“These acts violate the dignity of the human person and are clearly crimes against humanity.”
The North Dakota Catholic Conference testified Wednesday, January 28, in support of three bills to help combat human trafficking in North Dakota.