On California’s Prop 1

An open letter to a public servant regarding a grave injustice

People matter first, and that’s always and everywhere true. So I begin with a thumbnail sketch of my neighbor, Alex Padilla. He’s an affable fellow. Gregarious. Even avuncular. Alex is a family man with three adult children. Padilla also holds a key post as a Special Investigator with the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. He oversees the Los Angeles Police Department’s investigations into officer-involved shootings.

Given his personal and professional background, it’s no surprise that he represents District 2 on the Inglewood City Council. That makes him my councilman. There’s more. Alex Padilla belongs to a nearby parish and serves there as a eucharistic minister. Plus, he’s a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Two weeks ago, I sent this very public Catholic the following letter, together with a statement from the California Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).

Greetings, Councilman

It’s good to see you engaged in the bread and butter activities that the community needs.

That said, please see below. It is a timely reflection of our CA bishops.

You have professed to be personally opposed to abortion, that is, the deliberate destruction of preborn babies. What we need now is public opposition to Gavin Newsom’s grotesque abortion advocacy. …

Here are some steps you could take.

    1. Let your City Council colleagues know that you oppose Prop. 1.
    2. Make your opposition known to your constituents.
    3. Challenge the abortion industry’s new PPA center here in the district.
    4. Coordinate your public efforts with prolife activities at Catholic parishes in your district.

Feel free to explore these suggestions with me online. Even better, stop by for further discussion….

And here’s the CCCB statement (of Sept. 29, 2022):

“On Tuesday, during a press conference and with his signature, Governor Newsom invested in a massive $200 million expansion of abortion services in California to ‘ensure all women in our state are paid their due and treated equally in all spheres of life.’

“The abortion bills signed by Gov. Newsom include new abortion infrastructure, allowing nurse practitioners to perform abortions without physician oversight, forcing employers to pay for abortions outside of insurance coverage, and expediting board certification for abortion workers. The funding also includes $20 million from AB 1918 to pay for the scholarships and loan repayments of doctors who study abortion and $20 million from SB 1142 to pay for the travel, lodging, gas money, and doula support of women from out of state seeking an abortion.

“Yet, the governor vetoed doula support and comprehensive perinatal support for California’s mothers through Medi-Cal and investment in the rapidly dwindling mental health workforce — citing the cost (AB 2199, AB 1930, AB 2222). Earlier this year, the legislature removed copays and deductibles for abortions (SB 245). Yet, the most economically vulnerable women and children on Medi-Cal must still pay subscriber fees for prenatal and postpartum care and pediatric visits.

“The governor and this legislature have clearly prioritized abortion over the health and wellbeing of California mothers and children. This is not reproductive equity. Improving women’s health and reproductive care would see investment in maternity care, preventive care, and prioritizing the needs of all women in California.

“Tragically, the legislature prejudices the choice of abortion over women who choose motherhood by supporting and subsidizing only one option. This is not giving women and families equitable reproductive health options ‘in all spheres of life.’ California’s mothers and families deserve better.

“Proposition 1 will only take this further. By enshrining a right to unrestricted abortion, California goes far beyond Roe or current law. Rights have corresponding duties, and by eliminating viability limits and allowing unrestricted late-term abortion, Prop 1 will require an obligation of the state to provide abortion funding over and above what is already committed. This egregious prioritization of abortion over the needs of mothers and children needs to be reversed.”

So, what have I heard from Councilman Padilla? Nothing at all. Nor did I expect to. But some political sins, whether of commission or omission, need to be made a matter of public record.

Pope Francis goes to the heart of the matter: “Is it fair to pay a sniper to solve a problem? No. Abortion is not a religious problem in the sense that just because I am Catholic I must not seek an abortion. It is a human problem. It is a problem of eliminating a human life.”

Councilman Padilla, it’s time for a change of heart. I say this because you matter and your leadership matters. Please don’t let us down—or yourself.


Jim Hanink is an independent scholar, albeit more independent than scholarly!

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