For women seeking abortions, California promises to be a ‘sanctuary.’ But there are better ways to support women facing unplanned pregnancies.

Pregnant Woman

The following is an op-ed by CCC Director of Pastoral Engagement Ken Johnson – Mondragón.


The ordinary meaning of the word “sanctuary” is a place of refuge or safety, drawing from centuries of reverence for church buildings as inviolable places of safe respite for people seeking refuge. As such, it is galling that the word is now being applied to states where the “right” to solve a problem by terminating a human life will be supported without question. Specifically, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last December that California will be “a sanctuary for people seeking abortions,” proposing to pay for travel, accommodations and abortion costs for women from other states. New York and other states are lining up to do the same.


State legislatures across the country are already debating whether to restrict or expand access to abortion, and after the Supreme Court delivers its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health later this year, they may have greater freedom to act than at any time in nearly 50 years. But whether in states that are ready to ban abortion or states that style themselves as “abortion sanctuaries,” unexpected pregnancies will not disappear overnight. The question then becomes: What are we personally and collectively prepared to do in support of women facing unexpected pregnancies?

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