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Insights: Assisted-Suicide Now Illegal as Court Case Continues; Fighting Sex Trafficking

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June 1, 2018

CA Appellate Court Upholds Ruling Against Physician-Assisted Suicide

An appellate court’s judge ruling released last week means that physician-assisted suicide will remain illegal in California at least until an upcoming hearing by the fourth appellate court at the end of June.

On May 15, Riverside County Superior Court judge ruled the End-of-Life Option Act unconstitutional  and halted its enforcement. Last week, the appellate court denied the California Attorney General’s request for an emergency stay while asking attorneys on both sides for additional information.

“We are very grateful and encouraged that California courts continue to find the law legalizing physician-assisted suicide unconstitutional. We realize there are many steps in the legal process still to go, but rulings seem to be accumulating against this terrible piece of legislation,” said California Catholic Conference Executive Director Ned Dolejsi in a statement on the decision.

Physician-assisted suicide has been in effect in California since June 2016. It was challenged by the Life Legal Defense Foundation.  The ruling on constitutionality was based on the fact that the End-of-Life Option Act was approved during a special session of the legislature meant to deal only with health care issues.  Attorneys for the Foundation argued that doctor-assisted suicide is not health care and the judge agreed.

Stay tuned to on the latest developments on this issue at www.cacatholic.org.

 

Fighting Sex Trafficking – Protecting the Dignity of All People

Deeply buried in our society’s glittering bustle one of the most sordid crimes against humanity continues every day almost entirely unnoticed – the sale of young girls for sex.

Pope Francis warned earlier in the year that, “modern forms of slavery are far more widespread than previously imagined, even – to our scandal and shame – within the most prosperous of our societies.”  

An estimated 40 million people around the world are in enslavement today.  Most are held against their will for cheap labor, but a substantial number are held against their will for sex.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline counted six thousand formal sex trafficking cases made in the U.S. in 2017. One-third of the victims were minors.

Within that number, the most horrific plight of all may be the juvenile girls who are sold, some on the streets, others through the web.

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Legislative Deadline Creates Movement for CAD Bills

With June 1 being the deadline for all bills to have passed out of their house of origin, the fates of many of the bills that CCC tracks, including the closely monitored Catholic Advocacy Day bills, are being determined.

The CCC is pleased to report that SB 1214 K-12 Teacher Professional Development (Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge) has passed out of the Senate in an unanimous, bipartisan vote of support and will now head to the Assembly. This CCC-sponsored bill will create a $2500 tax credit for new teachers, helping to address the teacher shortage and increase the number of well-qualified educators in California classrooms.

The Senate also passed SB 1391 by Senator Lara (D-Bell Gardens) that addresses juvenile fitness for court. This bill will prohibit youth ages 14 and 15 from entering the adult criminal system and instead keep them in the juvenile system.

AB 1862 by Assemblymember Santiago (D-Los Angeles) passed and is now headed to the Senate. The bill will appropriate $10 million to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to provide immigration services to individuals who are current or former recipients of the federal Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program.

The Assembly also passed AB 2269 (R-Lackey) and is now in the Senate’s hands. AB 2269 extends the CalWORKs program for persons receiving aid until he or she reaches the age of 20, if the recipient is attending school and making satisfactory progress toward graduation or completion of a program as defined by the school.

Previously, AB 2701 (Rubio, D-Baldwin Park) was suspended in committee and will not move forward. The bill would have required the Victims Compensation Board to administer a program to evaluate applications and award grants to school-based trauma recovery centers.

The CCC is still closely watching SB 320 by Senator Leyva (D-Chino), which would require student health centers at California’s public universities (UC and CSU) to offer abortion drugs (like RU 486) to students. The bill passed out of the Senate in late January and is being taken up in Assembly committees. SB 320 is now set for hearing in the Assembly Health Committee on June 12 at 1:30p.m. Please be on the lookout on how to contact Assemblymember about this bill soon.

 

Despite Bipartisan Support, Stillbirth Tax Credit Bill Fails to Advance

A recent pro-life legislative proposal, which even managed to garner significant support from Democratic legislators, was held in fiscal committee and will not advance any further this year.

Assembly Bill 2259, authored by Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) sought to establish a $2,000 tax credit for stillbirth-related medical and burial or cremation costs paid or incurred during the taxable year.

According to the author, “AB 2259 will provide much-needed financial relief to families who have experienced a tragic loss through stillbirth.  In addition to the emotional toll, there are considerable financial hardships resulting from a stillbirth, including medical bills, funeral arrangements, and even grief counseling.

This also doesn’t factor the cost of a crib, diapers, clothing, and other items the families may have already purchased in excitement and anticipation of the birth of their child…While this bill can’t take away from the loss they’ve experienced, it can provide incredible relief to families in need.”

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Voting Resources for Election Day

Tuesday is Primary Election Day in California. In addition to the many decisions for local and statewide offices, there are five propositions that will affect California law regarding natural resources, Cap-and-Trade funds, property tax reassessments, transportation revenues and effective dates for ballot measures.

The CCC has prepared analysis of each of the five ballot propositions. Please reference them as you consider thoughtful and prayerful votes.

 

Mental Health Resources Available by Diocese

In continued recognition of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, the CCC has published a list of mental health resources available by diocese.

Earlier this month, the California Bishops released a call to assist brothers and sisters dealing with mental health issues in their statement Hope and Healing: A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of California on Caring for those who Suffer from Mental Illness Addressed to All Catholics and People of Goodwill.

The resources include church, medical, and public organizations and groups available to help. We hope you find these links beneficial in your call to assist brothers and sisters in need.

June 1, 2018
Vol. 11, No. 19