Senate Bill 117

The South Dakota Catholic Conference opposes passage of SB 117, a bill that would double the amount of money that can be spent on a video lottery machine game, from two dollars to four dollars, and increase the award amount per bet from $1,000 to $2,500. While games of chance Read more…

Senate Bill 75

The South Dakota Catholic Conference supports passage of SB 75, which modifies existing laws related to parental support for a child born out of wedlock. SB 75 provides that both the father and mother are jointly responsible for paying the expenses related to pregnancy or prenatal care for the child, Read more…

Senate Bill 57

The South Dakota Catholic Conference opposes passage of SB 57, which would limit the ability of students receiving alternative instruction (e.g., homeschooled students) to participate in school district activities such as athletics and fine arts. SB 57 would reverse a key component of SB 177, a 2021 enactment supported by Read more…

F&P Episode 111: Sex, gender, and surgery: a Catholic doctor’s perspective

Host Michael Pauley is joined by Dr. Alfonso Oliva, a physician specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery, and a member of the Executive Board of the Catholic Medical Association. Dr. Oliva and Michael discuss the various controversies surrounding the use of drugs and surgeries as “treatment” for persons experiencing gender dysphoria. What are the purported benefits of such procedures, and what are the known complications? Dr. Oliva shares his thoughts concerning the rapid rise in cases of reported gender dysphoria among adolescent females, and the growing trend of administering drugs and performing so-called “gender reassignment” surgeries upon minors in the United States.

House Bill 1080

The South Dakota Catholic Conference supports the passage of House Bill 1080. This legislation, often referred to as the “Help Not Harm” bill, would prohibit medical providers from prescribing puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones, or conducting mutilating surgeries on a child who has emotional distress surrounding his or her sex. HB Read more…

Abortion Amendment

2024 Abortion Amendment Proposed Amendment Would Legalize Abortion in South Dakota On June 24, 2022, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, South Dakota won the freedom to immediately begin enforcing a law passed in 2005 that protects preborn children and their mothers Read more…

F&P Episode 110: The abortion threat in South Dakota

Michael Pauley is joined by Jon Hansen for a discussion of a proposed amendment that would create a right to abortion in the South Dakota state constitution. Hansen is the Speaker Pro Tempore of the South Dakota House of Representatives and also serves as Vice President of South Dakota Right to Life. Hansen and Pauley discuss the implications of the proposed constitutional amendment, which would be placed on the ballot for the November 5, 2024 election, if sponsors are able to gather the legally required number of signatures. Supporters of the amendment describe it as an initiative to put Roe v. Wade into the state constitution, but Hansen explains the amendment would impose a legal regime of unrestricted abortion-on-demand that is far more radical than the policy under Roe.

F&P Episode 109: Marijuana: Panacea or Poison?

Chris Motz and Michael Pauley welcome Dr. Bonnie Omdahl for a conversation about marijuana, Initiated Measure 27, and public health. Dr. Omdahl explores what medical science says about the effects of marijuana on brain development, mental health, and physical health. Chris and Mike share thoughts on the huge gap between the scientific reality of marijuana and public perceptions of the drug. A Gallup survey reports that 71 percent of Americans consider chewing tobacco to be “very harmful” to one’s health, but only 27 percent said the same about marijuana. Dr. Omdahl offers her prescription for what can be done to make cultural perceptions of marijuana better conform to reality.

F&P Episode 108: Marijuana and Crime

Co-host Michael Pauley is joined by Pat West, Sheriff-elect of Meade County, for a discussion of marijuana and its association with criminal behavior. Michael and Pat examine a number of questions relevant to Initiated Measure 27, a proposal in the November 8, 2022 election to legalize the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana in South Dakota. Will legalizing marijuana reduce crime, or make it worse? Is marijuana a “gateway drug” that leads to the use of illicit drugs that are even more toxic, such as heroin or cocaine? What are “marijuana edibles,” and what dangers do they pose? What are the challenges that law enforcement face when dealing with drivers who are under the influence of marijuana? Michael and Pat explore how marijuana use by a minority of the population has adverse effects on the whole of society.

F&P Episode 107: The Pitfalls of Legalizing Marijuana

Co-hosts Michael Pauley and Chris Motz welcome guest Emily Leedom, Executive Director of the Lourdes Center in the Diocese of Sioux Falls, for a discussion of Initiated Measure 27, a ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in South Dakota. The bishops of South Dakota have taken a stand against marijuana legalization, because of the harms it brings to individuals, families, and the broader society. Emily outlines the known impacts of marijuana and the various ways it undermines human flourishing. Chris and Michael also discuss with Emily the current trends in public opinion on marijuana, and explore the frequently-cited argument that marijuana use is no different than consuming alcohol.

F&P Episode 106: Catholics and the Two Cities

Michael Pauley welcomes Fr. Henry Stephan, O.P., of Notre Dame University to the program for a far-reaching conversation on how Catholics should engage with politics (the City of Man) without losing sight of the eternal home we are called to (the City of God). Michael and Fr. Henry discuss the thinking of Augustine and Aquinas on politics, examine three temptations that Catholics should avoid as they engage in political life, and review the current debate in Catholic intellectual circles on the subject of “integralism” and whether Catholic beliefs can be harmonized with the economic and political tenets of classical liberalism.

F&P Episode 105: Protecting the Vulnerable: Children with Down Syndrome

Chris Motz and Michael Pauley welcome to the show Lauren Costabile, founder and executive director of Hearts of Joy International, an organization that helps babies with Down Syndrome gain access to needed care, especially open-heart surgery. The ongoing debate about abortion after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision frequently revolves around so-called “hard cases,” including pregnancies in which a pre-born child has been diagnosed as having a disability. It is estimated that between 60 and 90 percent of pre-born children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted, compared to 18 percent of pre-born children overall. Chris and Michael discuss with Lauren the competing visions in our culture regarding the value of human life. Catholic social teaching reminds us that our worth as human beings is anchored in the fact that we are created by God. But this worldview is challenged by a utilitarian ethos that measures the worth of a human being based on abilities and achievements. Lauren Costabile offers a powerful testimony about the inherent dignity and value of every child.

F&P Episode 104: Dobbs Case: A Closer Look

Michael Pauley and Chris Motz take a deeper look at the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, this time focusing on three concurring opinions written by justices who voted to uphold the pro-life law in Mississippi that was challenged. While all three justices agreed that Mississippi’s statute limiting abortions after 15 weeks gestation should be deemed constitutional, there were stark differences in the reasoning that each justice used to reach the same conclusion. First, Michael and Chris look at the intriguing concurrence penned by Justice Clarence Thomas, who offers a vigorous critique of the Supreme Court’s history of using “substantive due process” analysis to expand the court’s power. Next they examine the concurrence of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, focusing on his argument that the Constitution “does not take sides on the issue of abortion.” Finally, they consider the concurrence of Chief Justice John Roberts, who argues that the court should have upheld the constitutionality of the Mississippi law, but without overturning the prior precedents of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.

F&P Episode 103: Catholics and “Pride Month”

Michael Pauley and Chris Motz tackle the political and cultural phenomenon known as “Pride Month.” Governmental bodies and America’s largest corporations loudly celebrate this event every June, but what exactly is the message that’s being promoted? Michael and Chris explore the sexual ideology that underlies Pride Month, and contrast it with the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality and how this dimension of our personhood can be lived in a way that contributes to human flourishing. They also discuss resources that are available to help Christians better understand issues related to same-sex attraction and transgender ideology.

F&P Episode: Supreme Court Decision on Dobbs Case

On this episode Michael Pauley, Executive Director of the South Dakota Catholic Conference, and Chris Motz, Chief of Staff for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, provide an initial overview of the momentous decision released June 24, 2022 by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. They discuss the court’s decision to overturn its previous cases, Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), that asserted the existence of a federal constitutional right to abortion, and unpack what this means for the state of South Dakota.