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Bishops Decry 40 Percent Increase in Medi-Cal Abortion Provider Rates in New State Budget

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June 19, 2014

The Most Rev. Jaime Soto, president of the California Catholic Conference and Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, issued the following statement today upon word that the recently passed State Budget includes a 40 percent increase in rates paid to abortion providers, but continues a 10 percent cut in all other hospital and provider fees that endangers access to care for all women and families participating in the Medi-Cal Program. 

“It’s no secret that millions of Californians, along with the Catholic Church, consider abortion the taking of an innocent human life. It is an intrinsic evil. No euphemism, no perversion of language can change that essential Truth.

“But buried deeply in the State Budget, and in the Medi-Cal Estimates provided by the Department of Health Care Services, is the fact that at a time when all health care provider rates remain slashed by 10 percent and women and families are struggling to find doctors, nurses and hospitals willing and able to provide essential medical care, abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and others are poised to receive a 40 percent increase in the fees they receive for performing abortions.

“This is insanely distorted health care. At a time when the state claims it is too poor to fully fund health care for nearly 10 million people, and women are struggling to find providers to give them basic medical care, the state returns a political favor by giving extra money to abortion providers.

“If that’s not bad enough, the Medi-Cal estimate that lays out this policy (attached), explains this is a cost-effective decision, because ‘Early statewide access insures services are less costly, whereas lack of access results in increased ongoing expenses for years.’

“In other words, it’s cheaper for state government to pay for abortions than care for mothers and children. By approving this budget, State elected officials are choosing abortion and pushing their preference on to women.

“What a callous and calculating thing for anyone to say, much less a government official.

“I call on Gov. Brown and the Department of Health Care Services to undo this wrong. Women deserve better. Children are not a threat to California. We believe abortion is bad health care for women and families. It is misguided to give special treatment to abortion providers. California should do better than this. Rollback this increase and fund essential health care, don’t double-down on something as wrong as abortion.”