MCC to partner with The Arc Maryland, Hogan Administration, General Assembly to recognize World Down Syndrome Day 2019
The Maryland Catholic Conference will join with The Arc Maryland, and the Maryland Department of Disabilities to recognize World Down Syndrome Day 2019 on March 21.
World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Maryland first recognized the day in 2018.
"On March 21, we will be celebrating the day with recognition by the Senate, House of Delegates, and the Hogan Administration in honor of persons with Down syndrome, their families, and the organizations that support them," said Greg Snyder, associate director with the Conference. "We are welcoming advocates, persons with Down syndrome, and their families to join us in Annapolis as our state joins with communities across the world to honor this day and to stand up for the inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome."
The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
To learn more about World Down Syndrome Day, visit: www.worlddownsyndromeday2.org.
Maryland is now accepting applications for the BOOST scholarship program for the 2019-2020 school year.
"BOOST has enabled thousands of students to choose the educational option best suited for them and we encourage families that are looking for assistance for their child to attend nonpublic school to apply as soon as possible," said Garrett O'Day, deputy director of the Maryland Catholic Conference.
The state will accept applications from now through midnight of April 17, 2019.
The Maryland General Assembly created BOOST in 2016 to provide students with scholarships toward attending a nonpublic school in order to choose the best educational option for them.
If you have a student, or know of another family, who attends Catholic school currently, or is interested in transferring from a public school to a Catholic school, please pass this along and encourage them to apply for a BOOST scholarship.
For more information on qualifications and instructions CLICK HERE.
To apply visit: www.educationmaryland.org/BOOST.
In a narrow 74 to 66 vote, the Maryland House of Delegates passed on March 7 the bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
"Today's vote by the House of Delegates confirms what we already knew — that physician-assisted suicide is not a partisan issue and those who are concerned about the health disparity and economic discrimination issues raised by the bill stand in strong opposition to its passage," said Jennifer Briemann, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference. "Among those in opposition was a majority of the members of the Legislative Black Caucus and many members of Democratic House leadership, and we applaud their courage to stand up to the out-of-state interests pushing this predatory agenda. We call on the members of the Maryland Senate and Governor Hogan to act swiftly to decry the action of their colleagues in the House and stop this dangerously flawed bill from advancing."
The vote sends HB 399 to the Senate for consideration. Both chambers must agree on and pass the same version of the bill in order for it to be sent the Governor for a signature, so there is still time to stop this dangerous bill from passing in Maryland!
No amendments were offered to the House bill, which has been introduced with nearly identical language in the state of Maryland in four of the last five years.
The Conference is asking that all attention now be turned on the Senate and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which is expected to vote next week on the Senate version of the bill, SB 311. It is likely that the Senate Committee will consider amendments to its version of the bill.
To take action by emailing and calling your Senator asking them to stand with the 66 bipartisan Delegates who opposed HB 399, click the button below!
Mark Wallen addresses those gathered at Catholics in Annapolis on Feb. 21 about Laura & Reid's Law.
The Maryland Catholic Conference was among the advocates on March 8 who testified on a slate of bills that seek to protect life, as well as several bills that work to protect and enhance women's health in Maryland. The bills are all being considered by the House Health and Government Operations Committee.
"As people of faith, we know the importance of standing up for life, including the lives of women, who are sadly among the vulnerable in our state," said Therese Hessler, associate director with the Conference. "Today, the House will hear about numerous bills that would place common-sense regulations in place to protect life, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. They will also hear from powerful advocates like Mark Wallen, who lost two generations of his family in 2017 to domestic violence, about the need to put in place greater protections for Maryland's women."
Laura and Reid's Law was among the bills that the committee heard on March 8. Laura & Reid's Law seeks to protect pregnant women in Maryland and their families by expanding the ability of prosecutors to charge those who violently attack a pregnant woman and kill her unborn child with the charge of fetal homicide. Currently, in Maryland, an unborn baby must be considered "viable" in order for prosecutors to charge those who violently attack pregnant women intending to kill their unborn child, with fetal homicide. Viability is generally interpreted as 24 weeks gestational age or older. Laura and Reid's Law would expand the fetal homicide law to apply to unborn children as young as 8 weeks who die as a result of an intentional attack on a pregnant woman.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would save unborn children in Maryland from a grotesquely painful death by prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, unless medically necessary for the mother. Research has shown that by 20 weeks, pain receptors are present throughout an unborn child's body and that nerves link those receptors to the brain, making the unborn child capable of feeling and reacting to pain. The bill would work to protect Maryland's unborn children and women from late-term abortions.
To read the Conference's full testimony on these bills, visit: www.mdcatholic.org/2019testimony
Truly compassionate care and death with dignity: How the Center for Successful Aging at Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital is transforming care at the end of life by putting the patient first
The elderly man was tied to his hospital bed, screaming, with tubes protruding in multiple directions. To then third-year medical resident Dr. George Hennawi, the scene was not only frustrating, but would prove life-changing.
The day Hennawi walked into the man’s hospital room, Hennawi had no plans to focus his career on the care of those at the end of their lives. Rather, he had recently signed up for a different fellowship. But the view that greeted him in that room that day would stick with Hennawi and become the catalyst that would change his career, and ultimately shape the future of geriatric medicine in Baltimore.
“I felt we need to do better for older adults. We are so focused on illness that we forget what matters to people. So much of the time we forget about the humanity in medicine,” he said from his office at the Center for Successful Aging at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore City, where he serves as director.
Started in 2013 under Hennawi’s leadership, the Center for Successful Aging works to provide comprehensive care for adults generally age 65 and older, some of whom are approaching the end of life, by employing what is known as person-centered care, or care that places the person rather than the disease first.
Hennawi said his vision was to create a place where older adults could get all of their services in one location from a team — that includes nurse practitioners, doctors, social workers, pharmacists, physical therapists, community health workers and specialists — which creates a plan of care based on the desires of the patient.
Dr. George Hennawi
For the first time, Maryland’s full House of Delegates will consider whether or not to legalize physician-assisted suicide. But there is still time to stop this dangerous bill from passing and protect life in Maryland.
“While the vote on March 1 was disappointing to all those who have worked hard to protect Maryland from the dangerous practice of physician-assisted suicide, the issue is far from decided,” said Jennifer Briemann, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference. “The more people who speak up now and tell their elected officials to stand against physician-assisted suicide, the better chance we have of making sure it remains out of Maryland.”
The Maryland Catholic Conference has made it easy to speak up and tell your delegates that you stand firmly against assisted suicide. The Conference is asking all people who oppose this dangerous practice, which would put our most vulnerable at grave risk, to write their lawmakers NOW and ask them to VOTE NO when HB 399 comes to the House floor next week. As a voter, your voice matters and HB 399 still can be stopped, but only if you make your opposition heard.
Please take action this weekend, as the House will likely be voting early next week.
Want to make sure you are kept in the loop on physician-assisted suicide and other important pieces of legislation? Register for the Catholic Advocacy Network and be among the first to know when your voice is needed! Click below to sign up, get engaged and take action.
For the first time ever, Maryland's full House of Delegates will take up the dangerous physician-assisted suicide bill, despite strong opposition. In a narrow 24-20 vote, the House Health and Government Operations and the House Judiciary committees voted on March 1 to send HB 399, the "End of Life Options Act," to the full House floor for a vote. The vote is expected early next week.
"At this very minute, Life is under attack in Maryland," said Jennifer Briemann, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference. "Never before has the bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide received a vote in committee and been advanced to the floor, so it is critical that those who support the dignity of Life in our state speak up now. We are grateful to everyone who has written and called their legislators in the past few weeks, but we need everyone to continue to speak up in a united voice with a clear message: Physician-assisted suicide is a danger to Maryland citizens and does not belong in our state."
Maryland's House of Delegates will take up the bill likely early next week. If the bill passes the House, it will move to the Maryland Senate for consideration.
The Senate is currently considering its own version of the bill, SB 311, but the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has yet to schedule it for a committee vote.
Out-of-state interests, led by Oregon-based Compassion and Choices, have targeted Maryland as a priority state for passing physician-assisted suicide. Current Maryland law makes assisting in the suicide of another person a felony punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or one year in prison, or both. HB 399, modeled after the law in Oregon, seeks to make it legal to assist in the suicide of another with only a handful of inadequate safeguards to protect vulnerable persons from coercion, no safeguards to prevent an influx of dangerous and addictive drugs into the community, and no accountability for those who engage in the practice.
While there was great news out of Annapolis last weekend when House Speaker Michael Busch (D-30A) announced his plans to withdrawal a proposed constitutional amendment enshrining a woman’s “right” to an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, the dignity of life is still very much under attack in the State Capital. It is expected that this Friday afternoon, the House Health and Government Operations Committee and the House Judiciary Committee will jointly vote on a bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state. If the bill passes out of Committee, it will be headed for consideration by the entire House of Delegates, where passage is likely. Now is the time to speak up in defense of all life at all stages.
If passed, this bill would allow terminally ill patients to be prescribed a lethal dose of a controlled dangerous substance, which they would then pick-up at their local pharmacy and ingest without medical supervision to end their life. This bill, in addition to having no regard for the worth and dignity of every human life, establishes suicide as a societal norm, places large quantities of Schedule II prescription drugs into our communities with no measures in place for take-back or disposal, and leaves those suffering from mental illness, persons with intellectual disabilities, and our elderly at risk of coercion and undue influence by family members or caregivers. If we are to stop this bill, we must do so now. Please plan to call and email the Committee members listed below before the Committee votes on Friday afternoon.
Your voice will make the difference and our lawmakers need to hear from you. Respectfully tell them that you oppose House Bill 399 and that you urge them to vote no against legalizing assisted suicide in Maryland. Please take action today in defense of Life! To stay up to date on this and other important issues, CLICK HERE.
HOUSE HEALTH AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS COMMITTEE
Delegate Shane Pendergrass - District 13 (Committee Chairwoman & Lead Sponsor of HB 399)
410-841-3139 | email@example.com
Delegate Joseline Pena- Melnyk - District 21 (Vice Chairwoman)
410-841-3502 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Heather Bagnall - District 33
410-841-3406 | email@example.com
Delegate Erek Barron - District 24
410-841-3692 | Erek.Barron@house.state.md.us
Delegate Harry Bhandari - District 7
410-841-3526 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Alfred C. Carr, Jr. - District 18
410-841-3638 | email@example.com
Delegate Nick Charles - District 25
410-841-3707 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Brian Chisolm - District 31B
410- 841-3206 | email@example.com
Delegate Bonnie Cullison – District 19
410-841-3883 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Terri Hill - District 12
410-841-3378 | Terri.Hill@house.state.md.us
Delegate Steve Johnson - District 34A
410-841-3280 | email@example.com
Delegate Ariana Kelly - District 16
410-841-3642 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Ken Kerr - District 3B
410-841-3240 | email@example.com
Delegate Nic Kipke - District 31B
410-841-3421 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Susan Krebs - District 5
410-841-3200 | email@example.com
Delegate Robbyn Lewis - District 46
Delegate Matt Morgan – District 29A
410-841-3170 | Matt.Morgan@house.state.md.us
Delegate Sandy Rosenberg - District 41
410-841-3297 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Sid Saab - District 33
410-841-3551 | Sid.Saab@house.state.md.us
Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes - District 37A
410-841-3427 | Sheree.Sample.Hughes@house.state.md.us
Delegate Kathy Szeliga - District 7
410-841-3698 | email@example.com
Delegate Karen Lewis- Young - District 3A
410-841-3436 | Karen.Young@house.state.md.us
HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
Delegate Luke Clippinger - District 46 (Committee Chairman)
Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary - District 13 (Vice Chairwoman)
Delegate Curt Anderson - District 43
410-841-3291 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Lauren Arikan - District 7
410-841-3334 | email@example.com
Delegate Sandy Bartlett - District 32
410-841-3370 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Jon Cardin - District 11
410-841-3054 | email@example.com
Delegate Frank Conaway - District 40
410-841-3189 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Daniel Cox- District 4
410-841-3288 | email@example.com
Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield - District 19
410-841-3485 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Debra Davis - District 28
410-841-3337 | email@example.com
Delegate Wanika Fisher - District 47B
410-841-3340 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Robin Grammer - District 6
410-841-3298 | Robin.Grammer@house.state.md.us
Delegate Wayne Hartman - District 38C
410-841-3356 | email@example.com
Delegate Jazz Lewis - District 24
410-841-3691 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Lesley Lopez - District 39
410-841-3021 | email@example.com
Delegate Michael Malone - District 33
410-841-3510 | Michael.Malone@house.state.md.us
Delegate Susan McComas - District 34B
410-841-3272 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate David Moon - District 20
410-841-3474 | David.Moon@house.state.md.us
Delegate Jesse Pippy - District 4
410-841-3118 | email@example.com
Delegate Emily Shetty - District 18
410-841-3181 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegate Charles Sydnor - District 44B
410-841-3802 | Charles.Sydnor@house.state.md.us
Delegate Ron Watson - District 23B
410-841-3448 | email@example.com
Maryland's House and Senate are again considering legislation to expand our state's fetal homicide law to protect unborn children as young as 8 weeks development.
The Senate Judicial Proceedings committee heard testimony Friday, Feb. 22 on the Senate version of the bill (SB 561). The House Health and Government Operations Committee will hear testimony on its version of the bill (HB 757) on March 8.
The state first took up this legislation last year, when the family of slain Howard County teacher Laura Wallen, sought to change Maryland law after Laura and her unborn son Reid were killed by Laura’s then-boyfriend Tyler Tessier but the state was unable to bring charges for the death of Reid because he was only about 14 weeks in development. The bill is known as Laura and Reid's Law.
“Laura and Reid’s law is an important step for Maryland to protect women who choose to have children only to have their children taken away from them through domesticnviolence,” said Therese Hessler, associate director at Maryland Catholic Conference.
Mark Wallen, father of Laura and grandfather of Reid, told reporters on Thursday, Feb. 21, that while the bill will not bring more closure for all his family has suffered as a result of the loss of Laura and Reid, if the bill can bring justice to just one family, it is worth all the effort.
Homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women, and in Maryland, pregnant women are victimized at a rate that is 10 times the national average.
To support efforts to pass Laura & Reid's Law, CLICK HERE.
Were you inspired by the speakers or by meeting with your legislators or their staff at Catholics in Annapolis? Wondering what to do now? Become a Parish Legislative Ambassador!
The Maryland Catholic Conference has a network of ambassadors at parishes across the state who make sure our work and the important issues are shared with their parish community. Parish Legislative Ambassadors or PLAs are a vital part of what we do and many of you came to Catholics in Annapolis because of their efforts to spread word of the event.
Many parishes still need an ambassador. If you are interested in learning more and possibly serving as PLA for your parish, please let us know!
You can request to learn more about becoming a PLA by visiting: www.mdcatholic.org/volunteer