ADVOCACY--Life and dignity
Chairmen: Louise Meehan and Jackie Carr
One of the objectives of the USCCB Pro-Life Activities Pastoral Plan is to foster public awareness of the need for state and federal laws, and public policies to restore/maintain legal protection to the lives of the unborn children, the elderly and other vulnerable members of society which includes preventing legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide by legislation or referendum; human cloning, and research that destroys human embryos. http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/pastoral-plan-prolife-activities.cfm
Advocacy—Life and Dignity is the legislative program developed by the California Catholic Conference of Bishops to monitor legislation pending before the California Legislature. Catholics/Californians are urged to join the Catholic Legislative Network to receive and take action on current legislation pending before the California Legislature. http://www.cacatholic.org/
The following bills are currently being considered during the 2017-2018 Session of the California Legislature. Along with the description of the specific bill is the position taken by California Bishops. For more information visit http://www.cacatholic.org/take-action/legislation-0
AB 569 (Gonzalez Fletcher D) Discrimination: reproductive health.
Summary: Would amend provisions of labor law relating to the obligations of an employer to prohibit an employer from taking any adverse employment action, as defined, against an employee based on his or her reproductive health care decisions, methods, or the use of any drug, device, or medical service related to reproductive health by an employee or employee’s dependent. The bill would also prohibit requiring an employee to sign a code of conduct or similar document that purports to deny any employee the right to make his or her own reproductive health care decisions, including the use of a particular drug, device, or medical service.
Legislative Network position: Oppose: Significant. Ned Dolejsi
CCC Comment: AB 569, as currently written, disregards the value of religious organizations and will, in effect, subject all faith-based employers to lawsuits related to, not only the rights of employees, but also those of their dependents. We are not aware of any other place in current law where the rights of employees are automatically extended beyond the employee to other individuals. Sadly, the provisions of AB 569 would result in a direct violation of religious liberty rights and will undoubtedly lead to expensive and unnecessary lawsuits in our state.
AB 1396 (Burke D) Surrogacy
Summary: The Uniform Parentage Act defines the parent and child relationship as the legal relationship existing between a child and the child’s parents, governs proceedings to establish that relationship, and establishes the jurisdiction of the courts under the act. Current law provides that the parent and child relationship may be established between a child and the natural parent by proof of having given birth to the child or as authorized under the act. This bill would clarify that the parent and child relationship cannot be established between a child and a surrogate, as defined, by proof of having given birth.
Legislative Network Position & Priority Assigned: Oppose; Significant - Sandra Palacios
This bill is opposed by the California Catholic Conference (CCC), but its opposition is not just with this bill, but with surrogacy in general and with existing law – both statutory and case law – which recognizes intended parents using assisted reproduction as the parents of the child so conceived and does not recognize a surrogate as the parent.
CCC writes: [S]urrogacy poses significant moral concerns since it rejects and fractures the traditional family structure and complicates parenthood by intentionally multiplying parental roles. The long-range effects of experimental methods of conception and surrogacy – made largely to satisfy the interests of the adults involved – are still unknown. Surrogacy coerces children into situations where confusion and stress are often prevalent because adults choose to intentionally sever genetic and biological sources of identity. Extensive research has shown that children who are deprived of either or both their biological parents are profoundly affected throughout the entire course of their lives. . . .
This bill would further diminish the time-honored framework for the birth and formation of children – making motherhood a fungible commodity that is merely a matter of will or whim, available to those who possess the financial means to enter into a "contracted pregnancy." Sadly, AB 1396 could result in the creation of yet more motherless or fatherless children as our self-absorbed society ignores the needs of children and instead attempts to fulfill adult desires, disregarding the unique, precious and innate bonds between children and their biological parents.
SB 179 (Atkins D) Gender identity: female, male, or nonbinary.
Summary: Would enact the Gender Recognition Act, delete the requirement that an applicant have undergone any treatment, and instead would authorize a person to submit to the State Registrar an application to change gender on the birth certificate and an affidavit attesting, under penalty of perjury, that the request for a change of gender is to conform the person’s legal gender to the person’s gender identity and not for any fraudulent purpose. By requiring the affidavit to be attested to under penalty of perjury, the bill would create a crime, and thus impose a state-mandated local program. This bill would authorize the change of gender on the new birth certificate to be female, male, or nonbinary.
Legislative Network Position and Priority Assigned: Oppose; Significant. Ned Dolejsi
SB 219 (Wiener D) Long-term care facilities: rights of residents.
Summary: Would enact the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights. Among other things, the bill would make it unlawful, except as specified, for any long-term care facility to take specified actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status, including, among others, refusing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronoun and denying admission to a long-term care facility, transferring or refusing to transfer a resident within a facility or to another facility, or discharging or evicting a resident from a facility.
Legislative Network Position and Priority Assigned: Oppose; Significant. Ned Dolejsi/Sandra Palacios
SB 309 (Jackson D) License plates: Reproductive Freedom Fund.
Summary: Would require the State Department of Health Care Services to apply to sponsor a reproductive freedom license plate program, and would require the DMV to issue the license plates if the State Department of Health Care Services meets certain requirements. The bill would authorize the State Department of Health Care Services to accept and use donated artwork from California artists for the license plate. The bill would require the revenue generated from the license plates, as specified, to be deposited in the California Reproductive Freedom Fund, created by the bill, and to be used, upon appropriation, for the Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment program (Family PACT).
Legislative Network Position and Priority Assigned: Oppose; Significant. Sandra Palacios
CCC Comment: Because we know each person is created in the image of God, we hold each one’s life to be sacred from conception to natural death. We believe that we are stewards of this gift of life from a loving God. We oppose abortion and public taxpayer funding of abortion and, while this practice is legal, support limitations and restrictions on its practice. We support policies and services that assist pregnant women to make life-affirming choices. We advocate for programs which offer medical, economic and emotional support for pregnant women and children. There should be no incentives to abort a child, only support for bringing life into the world.
SB 597 (Leyva D) Human trafficking: victim confidentiality.
Summary: Current law authorizes victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to complete an application to be approved by the Secretary of State for the purpose of enabling state and local agencies to respond to requests for public records without disclosing a program participant’s residence address contained in any public record and otherwise provide for confidentiality of identity for that person, subject to specified conditions. This bill would make this program available to a victim of human trafficking, as defined. The bill would also make the program available to members of the household of a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, excluding the perpetrator, if applicable.
Legislative Network Position and Priority Assigned: Support: Significant Linda Wanner
SB 743 (Hernandez D) Medi-Cal: family planning providers.
Summary: This bill would prohibit a Medi-Cal managed care plan from restricting the choice of the qualified provider, as defined, from whom a Medi-Cal beneficiary enrolled in the plan may receive family planning services. The bill would require a Medi-Cal managed care plan to reimburse an out-of-plan or out-of-network qualified provider at the applicable fee-for-service rate. The bill would make related legislative findings and declarations.
Legislative Network Position and Priority Assigned: Oppose; Significant. Sandra Palacios
CCC Comment: Because we believe each person is created in the image of God, we hold each one’s life to be sacred from conception to natural death. We believe that we are stewards of this gift of life from a loving God. We oppose abortion and public taxpayer funding of abortion and, while this practice is legal, we support limitations and restrictions on its practice. We support policies and services that assist pregnant women to make life-affirming choices. We advocate for programs which offer medical, economic and emotional support for pregnant women and children, so that there would not be an incentive to abort a child.
Websites for other pro-life, pro-family organizations monitoring legislation can be found on the St. Jerome Respect Life page.
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