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A billboard advertising adoption services is seen at a bus stop in Oklahoma City Dec. 7, 2021. Oklahoma lawmakers approved a bill April 28, 2022, banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. (CNS photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters)

In December 2021, California established a Council for the Future of Abortion. Its goal: to improve access to abortion and to protect reproductive freedom, as several states are passing more restrictive abortion legislation.

But for Catholics, this is not merely a question of freedom but of authentic choice. Do vulnerable women, especially poor women of color, have the same choices available to them when determining their future and that of their unborn children?

On this week’s episode of the “Gloria Purvis Podcast,” we hear from Gina Vides, the associate director for parish and community leadership at the Office of Life, Justice and Peace at the Archdiocese Los Angeles. Gina says that the idea of these women having a choice is met with the demoralizing realities of poverty, lack of affordable housing and domestic violence. Additionally, they are saddled with the responsibility of providing for their other children. “Sixty percent of the women that have abortions in California are already moms,” says Gina.

The L.A. archdiocese is working around the clock to connect vulnerable moms to programs with wraparound services, including medical care, food, rent assistance and a community of support to help them carry their babies to term. But California’s Future of Abortion Council is dedicating $61 million to provide gas, lodging, transportation, child care, food, lost wages and doula support for women seeking an abortion.

“When you have this asymmetrical emphasis and funding and marketing toward abortion,” Gloria says, “that’s not freedom to me. That's coercion.”

Related links:

Gina Vides’s article in The San Diego Union-Tribune: “Opinion: California might expand abortion funding. What about help for mothers who carry to term?”

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