May 11, 2017 / 12:43 pm
Catholic groups have welcomed the Texas House of Representatives’ passage Wednesday of a bill that would provide conscience protections for groups and individuals involved in the foster care system.
“When this becomes law, Catholic Charities will be able to bring our expertise and resources to the aid of some of our most desperate and needy children,” said Sara Ramirez, CEO for Catholic Charities of Central Texas.
“We are willing to return to the field and work side-by-side with all people of good will so that no child is further traumatized by an inadequate foster care system,” she said in a statement from the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.
The 93-49 vote on May 10, largely along party lines, sends the bill to the Senate, where a similar version has been stalled in committee, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
The bill would allow organizations and individuals in Texas’ foster care system who have sincerely held religious beliefs to remove themselves from actions that would directly violate their faith.
Its multiple applications would allow groups to avoid helping a minor obtain an abortion or providing foster services, including child placement, to same-sex couples.
Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference, supported the bill.
“We look forward to a swift approval by the Senate and the Governor’s signature, as this is a critical element of the foster care system reform,” she said.
Cynthia Colbert, CEO of Catholic Charities Houston, said the conscience protections will “enable pastors to encourage loving families to be part of a caring network for these children” and will allow faith-based providers to be involved with Texas family protection service “without worrying that potential lawsuits will take limited resources away from the people we should be helping.” …
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