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Catholic witness: Advocacy Day in Sacramento

May 8, 2015
Christina Gray

Delegates from the Archdiocese of San Francisco joined other Catholic advocates from around the state in Sacramento Apr. 28 to talk to legislators and their staffs about how Catholic voters view some of the bills in session.

Catholic Advocacy Day, an annual event at the state Capitol sponsored by the California Catholic Conference, began with a prayer service in the basement hall of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

Carolina Parrales, Lorena Melgarejo and Kelley Cutler crowded into offices to advocate for nearly a half-dozen bills that support families and low-income workers, and to oppose assisted suicide and a bill that would require pregnancy centers to offer referrals for abortion. Parrales and Melgarejo work in the archdiocese’s Office of Public Policy and Social Concerns, and Cutler is a longtime advocate for the homeless and a parishioner of St. Dominic in San Francisco.

“We had some really good discussions,” Cutler told Catholic San Francisco, even if they weren’t able to entirely sway lawmakers on all issues. “A huge thing that they understood was when we talked about how poverty, housing and homelessness are connected to so many of these bills.”

The bills span several categories of concern to Catholics, including life and family, promotion of human dignity, education, restorative justice, economic justice and naturalization program funding.

Among the bills are SB 128, which would legalize physician-assisted suicide, and AB 775, the Reproductive FACT Act, which would force certain licensed pregnancy medical centers to notify potential clients that they have access to free or low-cost public programs for family planning, including abortion services.

Other bills the delegates spoke to legislators about are SB 23, which calls for the repeal of the Maximum Family Grant rule which denies parents additional CalWorks benefits upon the arrival of another child.

California bishops call the rule a “misguided effort to limit family size of those receiving assistance.”

The California Catholic Conference has detailed information on all 10 bills and their status on its website www.cacatholic/take-action/catholic-advocacy-day.

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