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 | By Caroline Funk

Catholic Legislative Priorities for 2023

What You Need to Know

Your South Carolina Catholic Conference (SCCC) is informed by sacred Scriptures, Traditions and social teachings of the Catholic Church, and it serves as the public policy voice of the faithful in the Palmetto State.

Each year, the conference analyzes the moral dimension of legislation and works to provide just solutions to promote the common good. The 2023-2024 legislative session presents new opportunities and challenges for the SCCC.

“With a newly elected House of Representatives, we are excited to build new relationships,” stated Michael F. Acquilano, conference director. “We recommit our efforts to advance Catholic legislation that upholds the dignity of every human person.”

The SCCC is advocating for many laws that strengthen and restore our culture, including, but not limited to:

  1. Adoption Reform — to expedite the adoption process and drop unnecessary costs for families seeking to adopt a child.
  2. DACA Work Licenses — to grant Dreamers the fair opportunity to work.
  3. Education Scholarship Accounts — to give parents the ability and funding to choose the best means of education for their children.
  4. Family Rights — to recognize the rights and responsibilities of parents over the upbringing, education and health care of their children.
  5. Fentanyl Felony — to increase penalties on drug traffickers and fight the opioid crisis.
  6. FORUM Act — to protect free speech rights on college campuses.
  7. Human Life Protection Act — to significantly restrict abortion from the moment of conception, while also protecting the life of the mother.
  8. Juvenile Protection from Porn — to protect youth from the exploitation and dangers of the pornography industry.
  9. Open Enrollment — to provide inter and intradistrict school-choice options for families.
  10. Predatory Lending Laws — to curb unjust and manipulative banking practices.
  11. Safe Harbor Law — to defend young victims of the commercial sex-trafficking industry.
  12. School Safety — to increase safety measures by placing resource officers in every school.
  13. Sex Reassignment Embargoes — to protect youth from dangerous and irreversible surgeries.
  14. Support for Crisis Pregnancy Centers — to build up a culture of life by supporting women experiencing unplanned pregnancies.

Presently, the Diocese of Charleston is engaged in a multi-year lawsuit against the state of South Carolina in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The diocese is pursuing every avenue to remove religious and racially discriminatory legislation, called the Blaine Amendment, from the state constitution.

Not all bills, acts or proposed legislation listed above will be addressed or voted on this year, but the SCCC will continue to expand its advocacy efforts to the issues most important for the Church and faithful of South Carolina.

While we live in this world, we know that we are not of this world. To quote the late Pope Benedict XVI, “The Church is not a political power; it’s not a party, but it’s a moral power.” And so, the motto of the SCCC remains: “Not liberal. Not conservative. Simply Catholic.” 

To stay updated and join our Catholic advocacy network, visit:

Caroline Funk is the legislative affairs specialist for the South Carolina Catholic Conference. Email her at