The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, provides an occasional “Inside the Capitol” update during the state legislative session.
By Minnesota Catholic Conference
A core principle of Catholic social teaching is to exercise, in our public policy-making and various labors, a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable. One way of thinking about that principle is that the poor and vulnerable should have the first claim on our resources and attention as we consider various policy questions. Children — especially unborn children — are among the vulnerable populations in our society.
One key Minnesota Catholic Conference legislative priority is ensuring all children are welcomed in life and respected by law. Therefore, we are prioritizing opposition to expanding abortion as well as efforts by social media companies to manipulate the hearts and minds of children for ideological and financial reasons. Our children deserve not only to live but to flourish.
United for Life
On Feb. 28, nearly 700 pro-life Minnesotans came to the State Capitol for United for Life, an event that provided pro-life Minnesotans an opportunity to speak with their lawmakers and stand up for life.
Over 60 meetings were held with legislators to advocate for three policies that protect life and promote mother and child well-being.
Attendees opposed an extreme abortion bill, H.F. 91/S.F. 70, which repeals many of the health and safety protections for women considering abortions, and expands taxpayer funding of abortion. Attendees also spoke in support of pregnancy resource centers by increasing the funding of the Positive Alternatives Grant Program, rather than the proposal in H.F. 289/S.F. 336 that would change the program to require grant recipients to refer for abortion upon a client’s request. The third bill for which constituents advocated proposes to remove the state sales tax on necessary baby items such as cribs and strollers.
But United for Life was just a starting point for better engaging the legislative process. Attendees are encouraged to continue building relationships with their legislators through constructive and respectful conversations about protecting our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.
Combating Big Tech
Later in the week, MCC testified in support of H.F. 1503 (Robbins) to prohibit the use of social media algorithms to target youth and addict them to various platforms and content. Limiting the impact of social media provides a concrete step toward mitigating the evidential mental health harms during teens’ most formative years.
Youth are increasingly spending more time on social media. According to a Pew Research poll, 89 percent of teens are online “almost constantly,” or at least “multiple times a day.” A 2023 report by the Centers for Disease Control exposed that “nearly three in five teenage girls felt persistent sadness in 2021. And one in three girls seriously considered attempting suicide, up 60% from a decade ago.” Additionally, youth who spend the most time on social media reportedly have a 13 to 66 percent higher depression rate.
It is not a secret that the increased use of social media has contributed to these feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression.
We should not be letting Big Tech and their accompanying algorithms shepherd the lives of our children. We can limit the control these algorithms have over our teens and free them from the confines of social media giants who do not have their best interests in mind.
Ask your legislators to oppose H.F. 91/S.F. 70 which removes nearly all the health and safety protections for women or minor girls seeking an abortion. These include parental notification, the physicians-only law, the 24-hour waiting period, Women’s Right to Know, and more. This bill would also expand taxpayer-funded abortion and remove the abortion reporting requirement. Tragically, it also repeals the born-alive infant act.
Lawmakers need to hear that you do not want these commonsense guardrails removed from the books.
Take action by visiting MNCatholic.org/actionalerts.