Skip to main content

Insights: Assisted-Suicide Lawsuit Fails, Abortion Videos, New Bishops

Printer-friendly version
July 31, 2015

Court Rejects Physician Assisted-Suicide Lawsuit

With the physician-assisted suicide bill stalled in the California legislature, proponents took the issue to court last week but were dealt another major setback when a judge ruled that a law prohibiting doctors from assisting in a suicide is constitutional.

The lawsuit was filed by three terminally ill cancer patients who want to utilize the option of doctor assistance to help them die. The plaintiffs promised to appeal the ruling.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Gregory Pollack said the case was not about the “right to die” but whether a law making assisted suicides in California illegal was constitutional.  Pollack said appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court have made a distinction between “letting a person die and making a person die.”

Judge Pollack concluded at the dismissal of the case that, “It’s up to the legislature or the people to change the law, not a superior court judge.”  A similar court case is expected to be heard soon in the San Francisco Superior Court. The plaintiff is a leukemia patient who lives in San Francisco area.

Read more about end-of-life issues on our Embracing Our Dying page.

Cardinal O’Malley: Planned Parenthood’s Work Reflects ‘Throwaway Culture’

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., archbishop of Boston and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB),  responded, July 29, to recent videos showing leaders from Planned Parenthood discussing the provision of fetal organs, tissues, and body parts from their abortion clinics:

“Pope Francis has called abortion the product of a “widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many.” The recent news stories concerning Planned Parenthood direct our attention to two larger issues involving many institutions in our society. The first is abortion itself: a direct attack on human life in its most vulnerable condition. The second is the now standard practice of obtaining fetal organs and tissues though abortion. Both actions fail to respect the humanity and dignity of human life. This fact should be the center of attention in the present public controversy,” said Cardinal O’Malley

“If the Planned Parenthood news coverage has caused anyone to experience revived trauma from their own involvement in abortion, be assured that any and all persons will be welcomed with compassion and assistance though the Church’s post-abortion healing ministry, Project Rachel.” 

If you or someone you know would like confidential, nonjudgmental help, please visit

Pope Names Three New Auxiliary Bishops for Los Angeles

Pope Francis has named Father Robert Barron, Msgr. Joseph V. Brennan and Msgr. David G. O’Connell as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The three bishops will join Archbishop José H. Gomez, other auxiliary bishops, priests and deacons in serving the largest archdiocese in the United States.

Msgr. Brennan and Msgr. O’Connell are priests already serving in the archdiocese, while Father Barron is rector of Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago and founder of Word on Fire, a global media ministry.

Msgr. Brennan has been serving the archdiocese as vicar general and moderator of the curia since 2012, while Msgr. O’Connell just began serving as pastor of St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in South L.A.

The Pope also accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, who has reached the mandatory retirement age for a Bishop of 75.  Bishop Wilkerson most recently served as the auxiliary for the San Fernando Pastoral region and he is a past president of the California Catholic Conference.

For complete coverage, including a video of the announcement of the new Bishop-elects, visit Archdiocesan news site, The Angelus.  Please pray for the new shepherds and say a prayer of thanksgiving for Bishop Wilkerson’s ministry.

On the Web

Congress can promote the common good and contribute to a more just society by ensuring the federal minimum wage promotes family formation and stability, said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami and Dominican Sister Donna Markham, Ph.D., in a letter to Congress, July 27.

With the canonization of Blessed Junipero Serra less than two months away, media interest is picking up.  Catholic News Service published this piece on how the missions’ influence can be seen in places and people throughout California.

Summer Schedule – California’s legislature is in recess until August 17.  They will return then for only a month to wrap up business for the year and nothing focuses the mind like a deadline.  See what bills remain to be acted on by visiting our Legislation Page.

Public Policy Insights will not be published next week due to the summer recess.  Watch for the next edition on August 14. 

July 31, 2015

Vol. 8, No. 28