The Sanctity of Human Life

The Catholics for Life, Marriage and Family Department supports legislative efforts designed to reduce and eventually eliminate abortion. It opposes legislation or other policy initiatives that undermine the sanctity of human life at any stage from conception to natural death.

The Conference advocates such legislation as the Ultrasound Opportunity Act, which simply calls for a woman to be asked if she wants to view an ultrasound before she has an abortion. Abortion providers already use ultrasounds before an abortion for medical safety issues. The Ultrasound Opportunity Act gives women the access to more information before a final decision on an abortion.

Lawmakers in 2011 voted to abolish the death penalty and the governor signed the legislation into law. CCI opposes any reinstatement of the punishment.

Likewise, the Conference supports the 1995 Parental Notification of Abortion Act, which calls for parents or guardians to be notified 48 hours before a girl under 18 has an abortion. The law immediately was drawn into an 18-year court battle, which ended in July 2013 after the Illinois Supreme Court ruled the law could finally be implemented. The law took effect August 15, 2013.

The department also works to defend the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which allows physicians, nurses and other health care personnel to refuse to participate in certain medical procedures because of conscience objections. The Catholic Conference prevented the law from being stripped of all authority by negotiating a less hostile amendment to the law during the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions.

Promote Marriage and Strengthen the Family

The Catholics for Life, Marriage and Family Department supports policies that promote marriage and strengthen the family. It opposes policies that undermine marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman.

The department also seeks better conscience protections for Church agencies in regards to Illinois’ civil union law, which went into effect June 1, 2011. Catholic Charities have been cut off from state-funded foster care and adoption contracts because of a dispute over the law’s religious exemption.

Efforts to strengthen conscience protections have redoubled since the state’s marriage law was redefined from “between a man and a woman” to “between two persons.” The new law went into effect on June 1, 2014. However, a Cook County judge in February 2014 ruled that same-sex couples in that county did not have to wait until June to obtain a marriage license. The Illinois attorney general later reinforced that decision, prompting other counties to also issue marriage licenses early.

CCI issues Marriage Toolkit

In November 2012, the Catholics for Life, Marriage and Family Department issued its Marriage Toolkit, a resource for clergy, parish staff and the laity.

The toolkit is designed to help Catholic individuals and parish communities understand, explain and promote the Catholic Church’s answers to the following questions:

  • What is marriage?
  • Why is the definition of marriage important?
  • Why does the Church endure the repercussions of taking a stance on marriage which is contrary to popular social trends and media advocacy?
  • And, most importantly, why should you care about marriage?

The toolkit is separated into seven individual sections:

  1. An introduction to the toolkit
  2. Q & A on the topics most discussed in this debate
  3. list of the best resources for explaining Church teachings
  4. An outline and reflection guide for homilies and other catechetical efforts
  5. Information on the Courage ministry
  6. A list of members of the Catholics for Life, Marriage and Family Department
  7. Information on how to become more fully involved in the public debate

The entire toolkit can be downloaded here.

Jeanette Malafa serves as the CCI staff member for the Catholics for Life, Marriage and Family Department.

Representatives from each diocese make up the Catholics for Life, Marriage and Family Department.

Susan DiDomizio – Joliet
Molly King – Belleville
Donna Moore – Springfield-in-Illinois
Raymund Pingoy – Chicago
Therese Stahl – Rockford