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Insights: NARAL Invents “Problems”; California Values Act

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August 25, 2017

Inventing "Problems" to Protect Abortion and Reproductive Rights

In the ceaseless crusade to eliminate any conceivable barrier to abortion and reproductive rights and make life difficult for religious employers, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) is inventing “problems” that need “solutions.”

The latest is AB 569 by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzales Fletcher (D-San Diego) which imagines a widespread threat to reproductive rights despite the fact that they cite only one such case in California – and that was back in 2012.

 

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Such cases are hard to find because existing law is very clear that an employer cannot discriminate based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.  Such prohibitions are covered under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) of 1959 and have been enforced by the courts for decades. (A host of other state and federal laws also protect employees.)

NARAL’s inability to find any such cases has not stopped the rush to approve AB 569.

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CA Bishops Support SB 54, The California Values Act
 

Statement from Bishop Jaime Soto, Sacramento, and president of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops released the following statement:

The California Catholic Conference of Bishops supports SB 54, the California Values Act.

In the nation today, some are displacing trust and cooperation with fear and hatred.  In our estimation, the majority of Californians, as well as the nation, desire rather to build a society where there is liberty and justice for all.  SB 54 is attempting to address this situation directly as it grapples with the injustice of indiscriminant deportations while assuring public safety for all our families and neighborhoods.

“It is important,” says Pope Francis, “to view migrants not only on the basis of their status as regular or irregular, but above all as people whose dignity is to be protected and who are capable of contributing to progress and the general welfare.”

Many of us know someone -- a vulnerable family member, a neighbor or, even a parent or child – who has been deported after years of living in and contributing to our communities.  Our families and neighborhoods are being ripped apart by aggressive deportation directives.

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Walking with the Families of At Risk Youth

This issue of Because We Are Catholic is available as a bulletin insert in both English and Spanish.

Today, children are a sign. They are a sign of hope, a sign of life, but also a “diagnostic” sign, a marker indicating the health of families, society and the entire world. Wherever children are accepted, loved, cared for and protected, the family is healthy, society is more healthy and the world is more human. – Pope Francis

Parents of at risk youth ride a tidal wave of emotions:  hurt, sadness, guilt, confusion. In a state of defeated silence, they come to Padres Unidos to understand critical parenting skills and how best to communicate and work with their children.

Padres Unidos is a nonprofit organization in partnership with the Orange County diocesan office of Restorative Justice/Detention Ministry that provides classes for parents and families who are struggling to raise their children whom are at risk, incarcerated, on probation or affiliated with gangs. Classes for parents are held inside Juvenile Hall and at three Orange County parish sites. 

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Prop. 57 Public Comment Period Closing Soon

Last year, Californians overwhelmingly voted to enact Proposition 57: The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016. This measure is integral in expanding restorative justice in our prisons by incentivizing incarcerated individuals to improve their lives through education, career training and rehabilitation.

Widely seen as a win-win for both increasing public safety and giving inmates the tools necessary to succeed outside of prison, the proposition mandated that it take effect quickly. Conventional processes begin with a public comment period before new regulations are enacted, but emergency regulations to implement Prop. 57 were adopted and enacted earlier this year.

Though the timeline is unconventional, the emergency regulations that have already been implemented have allowed the California Catholic Conference (CCC) the opportunity to closely monitor and make recommendations that are vital to the success of the programs. The public comment period is set to close next Friday, September 1.

The CCC is advocating for access to rehabilitation programming and space to create that programming. It is also encouraging credits for constructive involvement with crime survivors participation in religious programs.

The CCC is strongly recommending credit for participation in religious programming. Most credible voices on the subject understand that faith programming leads to personal transformation.  This component is essential in order to reduce recidivism within our prison system.  Society and individuals will not effectively solve social and personal struggles, such as crime and violence without a spiritual transition.  Faith practiced within a particular religious’ tradition facilitates that transformation.  Programs where participants can deepen their faith may bring inmates to a level of better behaviors and attitudes, which will make for better public safety.  Participation in such programs should be encouraged and rewarded with good time credits.

In the same breadth, the regulations should include credit for inmates who would be willing to participate in a program directed towards victim awareness and healing.  Inmates who do so participate and understand the impacts of the crimes they have committed will likely begin to change their behavior and be better citizens when they return to society.  Once they understand the harm they have caused to victims, their families, and communities, they can take responsibility for their actions and commit to their own rehabilitation.

The proposed regulations currently exclude young people from receiving credits or being eligible for parole under Youth Offender Parole.  Why would we want to exclude youth participation? The harm done to the emotional, mental and social development of incarcerated youth, combined with the separation from family and community as well as the unhealthy environment of prison make incarceration the leading driver for repeat offenses by youthful offenders. There is no justifiable reason to exclude people based on age and the fact that they are eligible for another program.

The CCC is also contending that good time credits should be retroactive. To deny programming credits to people who have been dedicated to rehabilitation for years, even for decades, is unfair. The benefits of Prop. 57 should apply retroactively to cover past participation in genuine rehabilitation programming, especially when it has led to good behavior.

Finally, people who are serving life sentences under the Three Strikes law for nonviolent crimes should not be excluded from this effort.  Prop. 57 promised to apply to all people whose convictions are for nonviolent crimes.

In order to fully implement Prop. 57 as the voters intended—improving rehabilitation in our prisons and protecting public safety – the CCC is actively recommending that these changes to the proposed regulations be adopted.

 

Bishops Act to Address the Sin of Racism and Seek Solutions

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops today announced the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. Initiated by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the USCCB, the committee will focus on addressing the sin of racism in our society, and even in our Church, and the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions.

"Recent events have exposed the extent to which the sin of racism continues to afflict our nation. The establishment of this new ad hoc committee will be wholly dedicated to engaging the Church and our society to work together in unity to challenge the sin of racism, to listen to persons who are suffering under this sin, and to come together in the love of Christ to know one another as brothers and sisters," says Cardinal DiNardo. 

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Handout for Day of Prayer/Season of Creation (Sept. 1-Oct. 4)



Pope Francis has called for an annual day of prayer for the care of creation on Sept. 1, marking the beginning of the “Season of Creation,” which lasts through the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4.  This handout/bulletin insert can help families and communities renew their commitment to care for our common home.  

August 25, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 27