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Your Catholic Conference Round Up

Your Catholic Conference Round Up

What Catholics Need to Know for January’s Legislative Start

The South Carolina legislative session begins in January each year, and 2022 provides us with avenues for pro-Catholic success in the public square. The Diocese of Charleston and 47 other collective, statewide conferences of bishops have a public policy office that acts as the voice of faithful Catholics in their states. Ours is the South Carolina Catholic Conference, or SCCC, that was founded by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone in 2013.

Through relationships with representatives and agencies of the state government, the conference analyzes the moral dimension of public policies. It works to proclaim the sanctity of life and dignity of the human person, lead decision makers in reaching just solutions and provide opportunities for Catholics in South Carolina to carry out their responsibility to participate in political life.

This year, the SCCC is supporting many important causes that fulfill the major tenets of our faith. Below are 12 legislative measures to know as a faithful member of our Church:

  1. Child Welfare Protection Act protects faith-based adoption and foster care services from discriminatory government action.
  2. DACA State-Licensure Bill grants Dreamers the fair opportunity to work in South Carolina by providing them access to state licenses necessary to work.
  3. Death Penalty Abolition Bill abolishes the practice of capital punishment in South Carolina.
  4. Education Savings Accounts Bill gives parents the right to choose the best means of education for their child through an account that can be used to pay for Catholic school tuition and other necessary educational services (see story on page 8).
  5. Human Life Nondiscrimination Act bans abortions based on race, sex or genetic abnormality.
  6. Medical Rights Act defends the individual rights, consciences and choices of religious medical professionals.
  7. Paid Family Leave Bill entitles full-time state employees to 12-week paid parental leave for childbirth or adoption.
  8. Predatory Lending Bill prohibits short-term lenders from taking advantage of financial distress of vulnerable populations by limiting the APR of these loans to 36%.
  9. Real Alternatives Budget Proviso provides a statewide pregnancy and parent support program that promotes alternatives to abortion through direct funding of services that support women.
  10. Religion is Essential Bill provides that churches are essential businesses and must remain open even during a state of emergency.
  11. Sex-Trafficking Reform Bill protects young victims of commercial sexual exploitation from punitive sanctions.
  12. Women’s Sports Act ensures that girls have safe and fair opportunities to continue to succeed in athletics.

In addition, the diocese is part of the federal Blaine Amendment case that could overturn a 125-year religious and racially discriminatory amendment from the state constitution. This case would set precedent to amend 37 other state constitutions, potentially elevating to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Another pro-life and important bill coming up is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Pending its ruling — whether pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are constitutional — the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could reinstate South Carolina’s Fetal Heartbeat Bill. The Dobbs case provides the best legal argument for the possibility to overturn Roe v. Wade, providing a chance for individual states to further regulate abortion procedures, and the laws surrounding them, for the common good.

This new year creates an opportunity for us as Catholic Christians to stand for truth, but we must start internally — in our hearts, relationships and families.

The fight for good is not a spectator sport. Be bold, be Catholic!

Learn more about the work of the SCCC at

Caroline Funk is a legislative affairs specialist with the S.C. Catholic Conference.