Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento has organized a novena for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In light of a new California bill which would mandate that all state colleges must provide abortion pills for their students, several California bishops are asking their congregations to fight the mandate, SB 24, with their votes and prayers. Known as the “College Student Right to Access Act,” it was approved by the Senate Health Committee in a seven-to-three vote, but it still needs to be approved by the state legislature when it reconvenes after summer recess.
CNA reports that last year a similar bill was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, but with a new governor in place it is unclear if this revised version will pass. Gov Gavin Newsom has yet to comment on the legislation, but during his campaign he mentioned that he would have supported the previous version of the bill.
Not only would the bill demand state-funded schools provide free abortion pills, but it would also require counseling for students seeking an abortion. The California Catholic Conference, however, warns that the language of the bill seems to ignore the pro-life aspects of such counseling.
In response to the measure, California bishops are appealing to Catholics for prayers and action. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles asked in an open appeal that his flock renew their dedication to their “Catholic identity.” He said:
“In practical terms, that means bringing our family and neighbors to know the love of God, and it means working for a society of love and compassion that truly serves the human person.” … He noted that this applies to all people, including the immigrant or refugee, the unborn, or the person on death row. He added, “(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.”
In Sacramento, Bishop Jaime Soto has organized a Novena for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The nine days of prayer will be prayed from August 3-11, and will end just as the state legislature reconvenes. Bishop Soto released a letter to his parishioners which called the bill “an unprecedented intrusion on university campuses” and suggested that it exists merely to “indoctrinate the young to the ideology of abortion.” He wrote:
“We must continue our efforts to stop this deadly piece of legislation. The womb should not become a tomb for any child anywhere in our state. Women and children deserve better.”
In San Fransisco, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone asked his people to join the Sacramento effort and pray the Novena in unity with their “NorCal” Catholic brethren, that the Blessed Mother will reach the hearts of legislators before they vote.
CNA notes that the bill would require the creation of a new fund which would provide $200,000 to each college in order to cover the cost of the drugs and counseling. The bill, whether it passes or not, would only take effect if $10.2 million in private funds are made available by Jan 1, 2020.