On the eve of the long-awaited Dobbs decision that will likely overturn Roe v Wade, I am grateful to see my brother bishops in California so actively and ardently fighting to protect life in our state.
Our state’s bishops and diocesan leaders are prophetically engaging, under the leadership of the California Catholic Conference (CCC) President Bishop McElroy, to respond to this uniquely challenging moment. The past years have seen continuous assaults on life, through physician-assisted suicide, and now with the extensive work to create an abortion sanctuary in California. Yet, the CCC is unified, now more than ever, in its work to be a voice for life and dignity in the state.
The California legislature has advanced no fewer than 19 bills for abortion protections this year, including expansion of the abortion workforce, incentives for abortion providers and clinicians, and $125 million of taxpayer money to fund abortions and all the ancillary expenses of the procedure. The Executive Director of the CCC has testified against multiple abortion expansion bills, including the truly terrible constitutional amendment, which would enshrine the right to abortion in our state constitution.
Diocesan respect life leaders from San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles wrote a tremendous op-ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune describing the devastation of the California Future of Abortion Council’s plans for their communities. Our parishes have responded to action alerts opposing these egregious bills. We have been unequivocal that the violence of abortion is never the answer and has no place in a just society.
At the same time, the bishops have articulated our own vision for the future of California that protects human life, values children and helps families to flourish. All 12 bishops united for a statement issued on the January 22 anniversary of Roe v. Wade, recommitting ourselves and our diocesan priorities to accomplish this vision to serve our state’s women, children, and families.
The CCC is advocating for policies to help women choose life and help families thrive in California, such as the expansion of paid family leave so parents and caregivers can spend time with their children, support for homeless moms seeking refuge, allowing incarcerated moms to bond with their infants, foster youth and including funding for housing-insecure and at-risk families in the budget.
And we have created a new campaign and resources to help our 1000+ parishes and 12 million Catholics respond: We Were Born Ready. Are we ready to respond to the needs of women, children and families? By virtue of our baptism, yes, we are prepared to help families welcome their children and achieve their goals. The CCC has produced bilingual webinars, parish resource toolkits and advocacy alerts and is promoting the existing 24-hour statewide call center for pregnant women in our state.
Roe might be overturned, but abortion will continue to be widely available in California. As bishops, we have been awed by the response of our Catholic community to reject the violence of abortion and to embrace the call to love and serve our sisters and families struggling with challenging pregnancies. Now is the time for us to continue to work together as a Church to build a civilization of love and reject a throwaway culture. More than ever, the bishops of California invite all Catholics and people of faith and goodwill in our state, to join in this endeavor. The lives of our neighbors, and the future of California, depend on our commitment today.