Re:  CCC’s Neutral Position on Legislation Expanding Abortion in California


Your Excellencies, 

As the “official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in California,” Catholic laity throughout our state look to the California Catholic Conference (hereinafter “CCC”) for guidance. As the first pro-life organization in our nation, founded at the request of Cardinal McIntyre of Los Angeles in 1967, years before Roe v. Wade, the Right to Life League is incredibly grateful for the partnership of the Catholic Conference and the California Bishops in California. We have fought together for the right to life, from conception to natural death, for the past 54 years. 

This letter addresses our serious concerns regarding the “neutral” position of the CCC on several bills which will either expand abortion in California, or provide protections for abortionists actively engaged in the murder of babies. Specifically, we hope that this letter will prompt the Bishops to re-consider the CCC’s “neutral” position on AB 2223, AB 1940, AB 1666 and AB 2091.

We, the Catholic laity, desperately need our Church leaders, now more than ever, to firmly and vocally stand against the atrocity of abortion. As faithful followers of a triumphant Lord, this is our moment to be bold in our faith, and even bolder in our love for each other. 



AB 2223 – CCC Holds a “Neutral” Position


Pro-Life lawyers agree the latest amendment to AB 2223 still allows for and protects infanticide by effectively negating the Infant Born Alive Protection Act. 

  • Perinatal means born alive. Section 7 expands abortion past birth by protecting anyone who assists in a bringing about a chosen “pregnancy outcome” which includes the death of an infant born alive; 
  • “Perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero” is a vague, undefined phrase protecting those who assist in the killing of a baby born alive by pointing to something that happened at any time before the baby’s birth and chilling investigation of a perinatal death;
  • Section 7 of AB 2223 includes “Notwithstanding any other law” language which negates and overrides existing legal protection for babies born alive, specifically exempting from civil or criminal liability – not just mothers – but anyone who “aids or assists” in perinatal death;
  • Intentionally chills all investigation of the CAUSE of the perinatal death, makes a coroner’s report useless and intimidates investigators with a civil cause of action against them that can include punitive damages.

 The CCC’s May 21st statement removing its opposition to AB 2223 does not address the bill’s protections for those who assist in perinatal deaths and ignores the bill’s nullification of the Infant Born Alive Protection Act:  

Today, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks’ AB 2223, which came to be known as the ‘infanticide bill,’ was amended in the Assembly Appropriations Committee to confirm that a woman will not be investigated or charged for experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, or ‘perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero.’ 

This change definitely closes the door on potential unintended consequences of permitting infant deaths due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment, alleviating the concerns that the CCC brought to the author’s attention. 

The State of California Health and Safety Code already states that a baby born alive after a failed abortion needs to be provided the same care of another infant of a similar age, and the Code also maintains protections against fetal homicide.

The California Catholic Conference is grateful to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and to Assemblymember Wicks and her staff for working with us to clarify and narrow the bill language. The CCC will be removing its opposition to AB 2223 and will remain neutral on the bill.


AB 2223 goes far beyond simply protecting mothers.


AB 1940  – CCC Holds a “Neutral” Position


  • In concert with existing laws, AB 1940 will fund public and private school-based health centers, which is admirable, but the bill includes reproductive health services” for elementary, middle school and high school children.
  • California’s Penal Code Section 423.1 defines “reproductive health services” to include “medical, surgical, counseling or referral services relating to the human reproductive system, including services relating to pregnancy or the termination of a pregnancy.”
  • It is hard to imagine what “reproductive health services” the Bishops would be in favor of providing to elementary, middle school or high school students. As this bill will undoubtedly expand abortion, we ask the Bishops to take an “oppose unless amended” stance on this bill.


AB 1666  – CCC Holds a “Neutral” Position


  • Blocks enforcement of valid out-of-state judgments against abortionists from states where pro-life victories against baby killing have finally been made; 
  • Provides a legal safe haven to abortionists, sexual abusers and human traffickers who may hide in California.


AB 2091  – CCC Holds a “Neutral” Position


  • Blocks enforcement of valid out-of-state judicial orders concerning abortion from states where pro-life victories against baby killing have finally been made;
  • Provides a legal safe haven to abortionists, sexual abusers and human traffickers in California. 


In these modern times, as a clarion call for the faithful, this line has become almost cliche but still rings true: “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” A “neutral” position is as much a position as “support” or “oppose.” 


Further, a “neutral” position by the Catholic Church on legislation that expands abortion in our golden state, provides protections for abortionists, or negates the pro-life laws that citizens have worked hard to achieve will, at best, undermine the Church’s ongoing catechesis concerning the sanctity of life and, at worst, constitute a knowing omission tantamount to cooperation with the evil that our legislators are proposing.   


Accordingly, and in a spirit of true humility, we ask each of you to revise the CCC’s lukewarm position of neutrality and instead oppose these bills.


In deepest humility and prayer,


Theresa Brennan, Esq.                                                                                                 Susan S. Arnall, Esq.
Granddaughter of Four Right to Life League Founders                                                  Pro-Life Patriot 
Third Generation Pro-Life Activist                                                                                Wife and Mother of 7 
Civil Rights Attorney for the Unborn                                                                             Civil Rights Attorney for the Unborn
President/Executive Director                                                                                         Vice President of Legal Affairs
Right to Life League                                                                                                   Right to Life League



Susan Swift Arnall, Esq.

Civil Rights attorney for the Unborn, Wife and Mother of 7. Member California State Bar, SAG/AFTRA.