Physician-Assisted Suicide Hearing Lacking Balance
The latest hearing on physician-assisted suicide (ABx2-15, Eggman, D-Stockton) was a well-orchestrated stage play designed to minimize the voices of those opposed to the bill. Although many “concerns” were raised by committee members, the softball questions were directed at proponents of the bill instead of the expert witnesses in opposition.
Even when supporting arguments were misleading and inaccurate, there was no opportunity to refute the misinformation.
Proponents relied on emotional testimony focusing on “personal choice.” The “choice” for death with the help of a doctor seems to be for those that are well-off, well- insured and well-educated. The hearing was part of a special session designed to address health care financing but the only financing question in the debate dealt with how inexpensive the suicide drugs would be compared to other costs.
Marilyn Golden, a leading disability rights activist, remarked that bill backers live in a “fantasy world,” where they envision every family is perfect and never imagining that there could be people in a family working against the patient. Her and other opponents stressed that it is better care that is needed at the end of life, not drugs to commit suicide.
When concerns were raised about abuse of this practice, proponents insisted that people would be charged with a felony if they gave the drugs to a patient. This is nearly impossible to do given the “safeguards” in the bill protect nearly everyone involved, except the patient. They also stated that there has never been any problem with the procedure in Oregon, but failed to mention that Oregon uses a self-reporting standard that would be unlikely to uncover mistakes, errors and abuse.
The bill passed out of this special committee and now heads to a special finance committee. Because it is part of a special session, the bill is moving fast through the Assembly and, possibly, on to the Senate. Governor Brown, to his credit, has already questioned the inclusion of the bill in a session devoted to more important health care topics. The deadline is Friday, September 11 for a bill to be passed in this session.
Oppose assisted suicide by calling your Assembly Member today and learn more about the misguided policy here.
Bishops and Lawmakers Discuss Climate Encyclical
With the State Senate debating two momentous environmental bills and the Pope declaring September 1 as a Day of Prayer for creation, legislators, California Bishops and representatives from national Catholic organizations engaged in an hours-long dialogue this week to examine the principles outlined in the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ (On the Care for Our Common Home.)
Bishop Jaime Soto, from Sacramento, president of the California Catholic Conference, and Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, were joined by Joan Rosenhauer, vice president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, for discussions held in the State Capitol on Monday.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León asked the Bishops to share the relevance of Laudato Si in developing local, state and national policies on climate change and caring for the earth.
Pope Francis’ Encyclical presents a clear and compelling case for placing people at the center of a renewed commitment to be good stewards of the planet entrusted to our care. Throughout the encyclical, Pope Francis calls upon all peoples of the earth to address environmental issues impacting the health of our communities, especially for poor communities and developing countries
Ms. Rosenhauer, from CRS, had perhaps the most direct contact with how climate change is affecting those in underdeveloped countries. On a recent trip to a drought-stricken area of Africa she shared how the girls in one village would endure an eight hour trek every day to obtain water for their families. After CRS assisted with a better water storing system, the girls were able to go to school every day.
With water for their crops and the ability to now provide for their families, women were asked what the impact of this new water storing system had in their community -- “Not one child died this year,” was their response.
Padre Junípero Serra – The Path to Canonization
On September 23, 2015, Pope Francis will preside over the canonization ceremony of Father Junipero Serra in Washington D.C. Long considered the “Apostle of California,” Serra will be honored by the Catholic Church as a symbol of heroic sacrifice and evangelization.
Father Serra, a Franciscan friar and prominent figure in the European settlement of California, answered a call from God to leave a comfortable academic life in Spain, travel to the far edge of the Spanish empire and bring the Catholic faith to those who had never known it before. He traveled thousands of miles – to Mexico and throughout California – founding nine of California’s 21 missions. These missions would later become the first settlements in many of California’s major cities.
New Videos Available on Catholic Social Teaching
A video on “Care for God’s Creation” is the first of a seven-part series on Catholic Social Teaching, designed to be an introduction to this body of thought with notable Catholics reflecting on each of the teachings. The video release comes in conjunction with Pope Francis’ declaration of September 1 as a day of prayer for creation. The video series is co-sponsored by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Watch the first video in the series here.
Legislative Update: SB 23 (Mitchell-Los Angeles) which repeals the Maximum Family Grant Rule will not be heard this session. Senator Mitchell has decided to wait until January to take the bill up for a floor vote.
September 4, 2015,
Vol. 8, No. 32