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Insights: Surrogacy Bill Removes Biological Mothers; Remembering Archbishop Niederauer

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May 5, 2017

Surrogacy Bill Aiming to Terminate Maternal Support

The unification and nurturing environment of a family is something that cannot be artificially manufactured or replicated. Children are a gift from God, but what happens when the parental relationship is convoluted by multiple parental roles and contractual obligations? In the case of surrogacy, the foundation of family values are often traded out for financial transactions and turning human life into a commodity.

This is why the California Catholic Conference is opposing AB 1396 by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood).

AB 1396, The Uniform Parentage Act, revokes all connection between a surrogate and the child she bears and births. It would legally state that, in a surrogacy context, the child’s biological mother is obsolete.

This bill would make motherhood a fungible commodity that is merely a matter of will or whim, available to those who possess the financial means to enter into a “contracted pregnancy.”  Sadly, AB 1396 could result in the creation of yet more motherless or fatherless children as our self-absorbed society ignores the needs of children and instead attempts to fulfill adult desires, disregarding the unique, precious and innate bonds between children and their biological parents.

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Archbishop George Niederauer: May He Rest in Peace

Archbishop George Niederauer died on May 2, 2017 at Nazareth House in San Rafael, within the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  He was 80 years of age and had been living at Nazareth House for several months following a diagnosis of interstitial lung disease.  Archbishop Niederauer was the eighth Archbishop of San Francisco. 

George Niederauer was born June 14, 1936 in Los Angeles, the only child of George and Elaine [Sullivan] Niederauer.  After attending Catholic elementary schools, he began studies in 1950 at Saint Anthony High School in Long Beach, where he met 14-year-old William Levada.  (Their close friendship has spanned 65 years, and Cardinal Levada returned from Rome in recent weeks to be by his side.)  After high school George Niederauer entered Stanford University for one year, and then entered the seminary formation program in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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Changes to Catholic Advocacy Day Bill

After close to 100 Catholic advocates met with lawmakers last week, there have changes on the fronts of several many of the Catholic Advocacy Day bills discussed.

SB 320 (Leyva, D-Chino), the bill mandating that all UC and CSU insurance systems cover and provide access to chemical abortions on campus is officially now a two-year bill, and is delayed until next year. While this is great news, the bill still has legs and the CCC will continue to educate, monitor and notify of any changes.

SB 68, (Lara, D-Bell Gardens), which would enable qualified undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition at California colleges is in the Suspense File in the Senate Appropriations Committee, meaning it is currently on hold. SB 257, also by Senator Lara, is headed for a floor vote, bringing it close to its hopeful passage. SB 257 would allow students of deported parents to stay in their schools despite the deportation of their parents.

SB 304 (Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge), the restorative justice bill aiming to allow credits from juvenile hall to transfer is currently in the Suspense File in the Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as AB 824 (Lackey, R-Palmdale), requiring transitional housing for homeless youth.  (Placing bills which require expenditure of funds into the Suspense File is standard legislative procedure.  Bills in the file will be considered as part of budget negotiations starting later this month.)

There were no changes to education bills on AB 586 (Holden, D-Pasadena) the teacher tax deduction bill, and AB 1520 (Burke, D-Inglewood), the Lifting Children Out of Poverty Act.

For more or the latest information on these and all other bills the CCC is tracking, visit our legislation page.


Catholic Charities of California Has Been Awarded Additional Funds to Assist Undocumented Youth

Catholic Charities of California has been awarded $200,000 in additional funds to conduct Medi-Cal Outreach & Enrollment Assistance to undocumented youth and members of mixed-immigration-status households. The program is funded by a grant from The California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness). Created in 1992 as a private independent foundation, Cal Wellness’ mission is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.

These funds augment Catholic Charities of California’s existing three-year grant from TCWF, which began on January 1, 2016, to provide Medi-Cal outreach and enrollment assistance to undocumented youth. The project period for this additional funding starts on May 1, 2017. Additional funds from TCWF will allow Local Catholic Charities Organizations to outreach to 4,674 individuals and and assist 494 more eligible undocumented youth and other eligible individuals to apply for Medi-Cal coverage over the next 20 months. 

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CCC Statement on Religious Liberty Executive Order

Statement by Edward “Ned” Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference on the issuance of an Executive Order on religious liberty by President Trump:

“The President’s Executive Order reflects the pressing need to conduct a serious, non-partisan dialogue on the issues facing people of faith in this nation.   California’s political dynamics have presented challenges on this front for many years. 

“The freedom to remain faithful to our religious beliefs is a cherished First Amendment protection.  Yet Constitutional and regulatory challenges, on both the Federal and State level, continue to threaten the ability of individuals, churches and faith-based organizations to provide services to those in need and promote the common good of us all.  We look forward to a rich and respectful conversation on how the long-held constitutional rights of faith-based organizations are protected in today’s diverse society.”

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has also issued a response to President Donald J. Trump's executive order signed yesterday.

May 5, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 16