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California bishops launch ‘born ready’ movement ahead of Roe decision

by | Jun 13, 2022

By Pablo Kay, Angelus News

California’s Catholic bishops are mobilizing faithful in support of families, especially women facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies, as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on the future of legal abortion in the country and state lawmakers push to “enshrine the most extreme forms of abortion into the California Constitution.”

We Were Born Ready” is an informational campaign that seeks to “empower, equip, mobilize,” and provide resources to state Catholics in light of recent declarations that California will become an “abortion sanctuary” if Roe v. Wade is overturned. 

The initiative from the Catholic California Conference (CCC) officially kicked off Thursday with a webinar including San Jose Bishop Oscar Cantú, Angelus contributor and bioethicist Charlie Camosy, and CCC executive director Kathleen Domingo. The webinar was co-sponsored by University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life.

The campaign comes as the country prepares for the highly anticipated Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case about Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with the potential to also overturn Roe v. Wade. The ruling is widely expected to be released later this month or in early July. 

Last week, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced a proposal that “would amend the California Constitution to prohibit the state from denying or interfering with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives,” according to an official description of the amendment. 

In a June 9 CCC statement, the bishops said they were “extremely troubled by the language in SCA 10, which is so broad and unrestrictive that it would encourage and protect even late-term abortions, which most Californians oppose.”

“We also fear the boundless scope of this proposed amendment, which asserts a new constitutional right to ‘reproductive freedom’ but does not define what that means,” they added. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his support for such an amendment in early May, days after a draft majority Supreme Court opinion that would potentially overturn Roe v. Wade leaked. His plan would set aside $40 million in taxpayer money to cover abortions for uninsured and out-of-state women, with the hope of making California an abortion “sanctuary” state. 

In their latest statement, the bishops pointed out that “California already has some of the most accommodating abortion laws and services in the nation.”

“By providing extensive funding for abortion services without any corresponding equitable funding for pregnant women and mothers, the state exercises a destructive, coercive power in favor of ending innocent lives,” they wrote. “Enshrining this amendment’s language into the constitution will extend the danger of coercive abortion to babies with unquestioned viability.”

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