State and Local Funding of Planned Parenthood
Part two in a three part series: Why did California boost funding for abortion services during the Great Recession but eliminate funding for life-saving mammograms? How does Planned Parenthood continue to be funded into the millions in the state despite the fact that public polls show Californians do not want to pay for abortions? While this financial information is startling, it is only one part the elaborate web of political privilege that Planned Parenthood has weaved.
California leads the nation in its virtually unrestricted provision of abortion and contraceptive services. As mentioned in the first article of this series regarding federal funding of Planned Parenthood, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding for abortions in federal health plans, and Medicaid limits abortion coverage to cases of rape or incest, as well as when the mother’s life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness or injury. California, however, is one of 17 states that use state funds to provide abortion services for essentially any reason. 
Under the state’s Medi-Cal program (California’s version of Medicaid), health coverage is provided to low-income individuals, and the state reimburses health care providers for their services to such individuals. Since Medi-Cal coverage includes contraceptive and elective abortion services, abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, receive reimbursement monies from the state for these services in addition to any medical care they might provide.
With respect to abortion, in 2014 (the last year for which data is available), there were 83,485 Medi-Cal funded induced abortions performed in California. Of these abortions, 53,907 were designated as “fee-for-service”, and the other 29,578 were covered under a Medi-Cal managed care plan.   Expenditure information for abortions performed under Medi-Cal managed care plans is not available for that year, but the expenditures for “fee-for-service” abortions amounted to $27,591,381. These abortions were not covered by the federal Medicaid program but were entirely state-funded. It is unknown how many Medi-Cal funded abortions were provided at a Planned Parenthood facility.
USCCB Chairman Calls on Congress to Preserve Gains in ACA
As Congress discusses a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, the Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, FL, is urging members of the House and Senate to provide a replacement plan concurrently so that millions of Americans will continue to have access to vital health care.
In a letter sent to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate on January 18, 2017, Bishop Dewane wrote that repealing the ACA should not be undertaken without simultaneous passage of a replacement plan that will continue healthcare access for those who rely on it for the well-being. At the same time, the letter also underscores the importance of creating a replacement plan that will safeguard human life from conception to natural death and also protect conscience rights and adequate healthcare services for the poor including healthcare for immigrants.
The full text of the letter send to the U.S. Senate/U.S. House of Representatives is available here.
Presidential Inauguration Day
On this day when Mr. Donald Trump of New York takes the oath of office, we commemorate one of our foundational strengths as a nation – the peaceful transition of political power. No matter which party holds sway, our calling, as faith-filled Catholics, is to protect all human life, promote the common good and bring about the Kingdom of God by caring for and loving the vulnerable, the sick, the forgotten and the stranger.
“I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1–2). (See more Liturgical Resources for a Presidential Inauguration.)
National Catholic Schools Week Begins Jan. 29
This year, National Catholic Schools Week will be celebrating its “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service” theme from January 29 through February 4. Celebrations will include Masses, open houses, and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and the community at large.
As Catholic schools frequently outperform schools in both the public and private sectors, the demand and enthusiasm for Catholic schools is growing.
Walk for Life and OneLife LA
Tomorrow, Walk for Life and OneLife LA will be holding walks in San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively. Their missions are to remember the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and to be a vocal and visual message that people stand for life and shed light on the physical and emotional violence that abortion does to women and children.
A departure from years past, OneLife LA has changed its route and will now be ending its walk at Exposition Park near Memorial Coliseum in L.A. The large number of Inauguration-related protests scheduled to end at Los Angeles City Hall forced organizers to shift plans. All those participating should take note of the revised route.
CCC Issue Briefs for 2017
Working with policy makers on behalf of the Bishops of California, the California Catholic Conference (CCC) adheres to Catholic teaching and doctrine to guide its efforts at the State Capitol and beyond.
The CCC has published its 2017 issue briefs, which guide us through the legislative session. The documents give background to our causes and identify our priorities and compassions. For example, the Reverence for Life issue brief outlines our position on stem cell research and explains that retaining the means to protect ourselves without restoring to state violence is basis for eliminating the death penalty.
On the Web – The Most Reverend Timothy Freyer was ordained Tuesday as the new Auxiliary for the Diocese of Orange. You can watch the complete ceremony online here but you can also view his powerful remarks on evangelization at the 2:21 mark of the video.
January 20, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 3