Andy Rivas, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, issued the following statement on the signing of SB 24:
“Governor Gavin Newsom has signed SB 24 (Leyva), a bill the California Catholic Conference had urged him to veto. This bill will require all University of California and California State University campus health care clinics to make abortion-by-medication available to students by state paid campus staff; not because such a mandate will advance the welfare of college women and children but rather to promote a political ideology.
“The life and dignity of every person is due respect and protection at every stage and in every condition. The right to life is the first and most fundamental principle of human rights. Human life is sacred. The life of a child in the womb of the mother is both sacred and innocent. This is why both mother and child need our support and encouragement so that their shared dignity and the sacredness of their bond is promoted and protected. Any legislation that defies these basic truths should be rejected.
“College-age women, especially those who face life-changing decisions, such as pregnancy, deserve a safe and supportive environment where they can receive appropriate health care and assistance, including pregnancy counseling and/or options regarding on-going health care, childcare, housing assistance, moral support and adoption.
“SB 24 purposely narrows a woman’s alternatives and, on an issue of moral significance and continuing controversy, puts the state’s prestigious academic institutions in a position of actually promoting, facilitating and potentially funding only abortions. Women and their children deserve better alternatives than abortion-inducing drugs that cause an abortion to occur by initiating a miscarriage during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Such a process may result in pain and harmful complications to the patient, including hemorrhaging and/or delivery of fetal remains, perhaps even in a student’s dormitory room or public restroom. A compassionate society should have more to offer women in need than the ability to end the life of their children before they are born.
“His Holiness Pope Francis reminds us ‘[we] are called to care for life in its initial stage; [to] remind everyone by word and deed that life is sacred – at each phase and at every stage – that it is always valuable. There is no human life more sacred than another, just as there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another. The credibility of a health care system is not measured solely by efficiency, but above all by the attention and love given to the person, whose life is always sacred and inviolable.’ (Address to Meeting of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations 9/20/13)
“For these reasons, the California Catholic Conference had urged the Governor to VETO SB 24 and why we are frustrated and saddened he chose instead to sign it. With this signature the life and dignity of women and children at our public colleges and universities has been diminished.”