.- The Wisconsin Catholic Conference has backed measures to raise workers' minimum wage and to ban the sale of fetal body parts, describing both as efforts to protect human dignity.
“Whether in the womb of the marketplace, human beings are not commodities,” Wisconsin Catholic Conference Executive Director John Huebscher stated in his Oct. 7 “Eye on the Capitol” update.
“The economy is made for people, not the other way around,” observed Huebscher, whose organization represents the state's bishops in matters of public policy. He went on to explain their support for “two bills that recognize the dignity of human beings in the marketplace.”
Assembly Bill 214, authored by Representative Andre Jacque, would ban the sale and use of body parts obtained from aborted children.
Huebscher said the bill affirms the “powerful truth” that “human organs and tissue are not 'spare parts' to be bought and sold in the marketplace.” Rep. Jacque's proposal, he said, “reminds us that our humanity endures even after our death and even when it is not recognized during our life.”
“Few of us want to think about the fact that the lethal impact of abortion on a child in the womb might be followed by the commercial exploitation of that child’s remains,” wrote the conference director.
“We may be comfortable donating our own organs after we die, but are we really at peace with selling the organs of an unborn child who had no voice in the choice that ended his or her life?”
Rep. Jacques' bill, he said, “compels us to address such questions.”
The Catholic conference also supports Representative Cory Mason's proposal in Assembly Bill 281, to increase most workers' minimum wage to $7.60 per hour.
That bill, Huebscher noted, “seeks to restore the purchasing power lost by minimum wage earners in recent years” due to inflation. He reminded Wisconsin Catholics of the Church's teaching that “workers should always earn a wage adequate to earn a decent living for themselves and their families.”
This teaching, affirmed in Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical “Rerum Novarum,” has often served as the basis for Catholic support of a legal minimum wage. In 1981, Bl. John Paul II wrote that payment of a living wage was “the concrete means of verifying the justice of the whole socioeconomic system.”
“Mandating a living wage for workers reminds us that labor is not just another commodity in the production process, the value of which is determined by supply and demand,” Huebscher observed in his update from the state capitol.
“Rather, it furthers the truth that the human beings who do the work are more important than the machines and processes that produce the goods and services.”
Huebscher predicted that both the minimum wage bill and the ban on selling fetal parts would be “'tough sells' in the current economic climate,” since both could be labeled as “harmful to economic development.”
“But both bills reflect a deeper truth – that prosperity cannot be purchased by sacrificing the lives and dignity of the vulnerable,” he countered. “They both recognize that true economic development fosters human dignity and enriches life.
“Both make our marketplace more human and both deserve our support.”