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Insights: Victory for Pregnancy Centers; New CCC Exec. Dir. Named

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June 29, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Pregnancy Centers

This week, faith-based pregnancy centers celebrated a victory when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that a California law requiring the clinics to inform patients about abortion violates the First Amendment.

The law, called the “California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act” (“FACT Act”), singled out crisis pregnancy centers and required them to post signs and provide information about the availability of abortion services.   

“This is a victory for reason over ideology.  This is a victory for women, offering them hopeful alternatives to abortion. And it’s a victory for children, who will no longer be taken from their mothers because of a senseless governmental preference for abortion,” said the Most Rev. Jaime Soto, Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento and president of the California Catholic Conference in a released statement. 

“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution may be the most precious because it protects and enshrines our right to free speech, peaceful assembly and the free exercise of our religion,” Bishop Soto said.  “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court rejecting the State of California’s legal attempts to muzzle the free speech of women’s health clinics and pregnancy crisis centers shows why. The Court specifically noted the FACT Act ‘burdened free speech,’ and imposed a ‘government scripted’ disclosure requirement, but ‘left unburdened those speakers whose messages are in accord with its own views.’”


Study Shows Number of Physician-Assisted Suicide Cases Increasing

Doctor-assisted suicides in California nearly doubled in 2017 on a monthly basis over 2016, a recent state report shows.

It is a cautionary statistic as attorneys carry on a courtroom fight over whether the state’s 2016 assisted suicide law is legal.

The question of suicide in contemporary society has gained new attention and generated increased discussion with the recent self-inflicted deaths of well-known people such as designer Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

Until suicides of famous people generate headlines, suicide remains a continuing and generally unnoticed reality. In California, about 4,200 people commit suicide each year, a substantial share of the more than 40,000 American suicides. 

New information about California’s legal doctor-assisted suicide came in the mandated state report for 2017, released in late June. It shows that 374 Californians died in 2017 from drugs prescribed for them by 241 doctors, about 31 a month.

That is a much higher monthly rate than 2016 when doctor-assisted suicide was legal for seven months. The state report found that 16 people died per month in 2016 with doctor-prescribed chemicals.

In 2017 some 241 California doctors prescribed a lethal combination of drugs to their clients used, about 40 percent more than the 173 who prescribed the meds in 2016.

The report was made public while a legal battle is waged over the assisted suicide law itself.

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CCC Names New Executive Director

The Most Rev. Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento and President of the California Catholic Conference (CCC), announced this week that Andrew Rivas has been named Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference.  He will assume his position in August at the end of the legislative session.

Rivas will replace Edward “Ned” Dolejsi, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

“Andy stood out in an exceptionally qualified field of candidates,” said Bishop Jaime Soto, president of the California Catholic Conference.  “He knows California politics, he knows Washington politics and, more importantly, he is devoted to the mission of the Catholic Church in California.” He will be a valued co-worker for the special ministry that is the California Catholic Conference”

Rivas brings more than twenty years of leadership and ministry experience to CCC, most recently as the Director, Office of Government & Community Relations for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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USCCB Voices Disappointment in Travel Ban Case

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Trump v. Hawaii, which involves a challenge to President Donald Trump's Proclamation No. 9645 restricting travel from several predominantly Muslim-majority countries. The Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling upheld the travel b

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chair of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following joint statement:

"The travel ban targets Muslims for exclusion, which goes against our country's core principle of neutrality when it comes to people of faith. We are disappointed in the Court's ruling because it failed to take into account the clear and unlawful targeting of a specific religious group by the government.  The Catholic Church takes a strong stand against religious discrimination, and we will continue to advocate for the rights of people of all faiths, as well as serve migrants and refugees through our various ministries."

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Catholic Journalists from CA Receive Major Awards

Having Catholic publications around the home is one way of keeping current with our local Catholic community and the news of the worldwide church.  It is also a witness to our family and friends that our faith is important to us.

Those who write, edit, illustrate and publish those publications work hard.  Every year, the Catholic Press Association (CPA) recognizes Catholic journalists, authors, students, photographers, videographers and others in four categories: press, book, student and Gabriel (broadcast and film).

Catholic journalists in California won more than 50 awards ranging from the Writer of the Year (R.W. Dellinger, Angelus) to Editor of the Year (Rick DelVecchio, Catholic San Francisco) to Best Diocesan Website (Diocese of Orange) to Best News Writing (El Heraldo Católico, Oakland).

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June 29, 2018
Vol. 11, No. 24