By Tom Chapman
For The Catholic Messenger
Gov. Kim Reynolds called the Legislature back into special session July 11, saying it was for “the sole purpose of enacting legislation that addresses abortion and protects unborn lives.”
House Study Bill 255 and Senate Study Bill 1223 have been introduced. They are virtually identical to the 2018 law that would prohibit abortions after a heartbeat could be detected. That law was never enforced due to an injunction. Last month the Iowa Supreme Court, on a tie vote, left the injunction in place. The Legislature will apparently pass the same law again to address some of the judges’ concerns that too much time had passed since the original passage of the bill.
The Iowa Catholic Conference (ICC) supports efforts by legislators to limit the harm of abortion to the greatest extent possible. “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception,” including through the civil law [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270, 2273].
We encourage you to contact your state representative and senator and, in your own words, ask them to support these efforts. A public hearing on HSB 255 was scheduled at press time July 11.
More than 29,000 students applied for a Students First Education Savings Account (ESA) during the application period that closed June 30. So far, about 17,500 applications have been approved. About 60% of the approvals are for current nonpublic school families, while 40% are for kindergarteners or families hoping to switch from a public to a nonpublic school.
This year, ESAs will be funded with $7,635, which can be used to help parents pay for tuition to an accredited nonpublic school. The local public school will receive about $1,200 for each Education Savings Account that is approved. The program is currently limited by family income but will become available to all parents in two years.
(Tom Chapman is executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference.)