CCI Executive Director Robert Gilligan hosts the Catholic Conference Radio Hour on the third Monday of the month on Relevant Radio. Gilligan discusses current public policy issues affecting the Church with experts and newsmakers.
Sr. Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), joins Bob to talk about the American Health Care Act, which is the U.S. House GOP's answer to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. CHA opposes the AHCA, pointing out the Congressional Budget Office notes the proposed legislation would increase the number of uninsured by 24 million by 2026, resulting in a total uninsured population of 52 million in 2026. Next, state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Aurora, talks about her work on a statewide task force on veterans' suicide, and the recommendations gathered in House Bill 2647. Then, Sue Barrett, executive director of Aid for Women pregnancy resource center in the Chicago area, discusses the uptick in clients since Senate Bill 1564 went into effect on Jan. 1. Aid for Women, The Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford, and Dr. Anthony Caruso in December won a temporary injunction against implementing SB 1564. Donate to Aid for Women here. Finally, Alexandra Fedosenko, Respect Life coordinator for the Joliet diocese, encourages listeners to attend a "Life Advocacy Day" on March 29 or April 5 in Springfield to lobby House lawmakers against House Bill 40. The legislation eliminates the current ban on using taxpayer money for elective abortions in the Medicaid program and state workers' health insurance plans.
Cardinal Blase Cupich joins Bob for the first half-hour of the show to talk about the need to defeat Illinois House Bill 40, which allows your taxpayer money to pay for elective abortions for women in the Medicaid program and the state's employee health insurance plans. Cardinal Cupich also discusses the important role immigrants play in our society, in light of President Donald Trump's recent executive orders on immigration enforcement. Then, state Rep. David Harris, R-Mount Prospect, talks about the Earned Income Tax Credit and its help for the working poor, as he seeks to fine-tune the program with House Bill 630. Finally, state Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Red Bud, discusses his efforts to recognize God in everyday life by allowing residents to purchase "In God We Trust" decals for their license plates with House Bill 2884. Proceeds from the stickers would go to veterans' programs.
Joe Scheidler, founder of the Pro-Life Action League, joins Bob to talk about his recently-released memoir, "Racketeer for Life," which tells how he evolved from a public relations account executive to one of the leaders of the pro-life movement. Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago then talks about the latest step in the canonization process of Father Augustus Tolton, the first African-American priest in the United States. Bishop Perry in December traveled to Quincy as part of a team that dug up Tolton's grave to verify his bones before re-burying the skeleton. Michael New of Ave Maria University and the Charlotte Lozier Institute offers his insights into the impact the federal Hyde Amendment has had on the abortion rate. Finally, Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, talks about potential legislation to exempt religious retreat centers from the state Hotel Operators’ Occupation Tax.
Bill O'Keefe, vice president of government relations & advocacy for Catholic Relief Services, joins Bob to talk about the organization's efforts to help the residents of Aleppo, the war-ravaged city in Syria. State Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, shares the next segment with Illinois Citizens for Life lobbyist Ralph Rivera about the potential for culture wars returning to the Illinois legislature as a pushback response to any success at the federal level of restricting abortion. Mary McWilliams, an estate planning attorney for the Chicago firm of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, talks about the need for advance directives and CCI's new publication on that topic, "Encouraging End-of-Life Conversations: A Catholic Perspective on Advance Directives." Finally, Dawn Fitzpatrick of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Human Dignity and Solidarity and Kevin Grillot of Students for Life of Illinois join Bob to talk about the upcoming March for Life Chicago set for Jan. 15.