Planned Parenthood and its allies feted Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend after he signed two bills opposed by California’s bishops – one that extends a controversial “pilot program” that allows non-physicians to perform abortions and another that permits non-physicians to provide hormonal contraceptives to patients

Brown is a self-identified Catholic who, as a young man, spent four years in a Jesuit seminary studying for the priesthood. In 2005, Brown married Anne Gust at St. Agnes Catholic Church in San Francisco, where he was baptized as an infant.

The governor signed SB 673, sponsored by Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, and heavily promoted by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. A similar measure by Kehoe failed earlier in the legislative session when two key Democratic senators refused to support it, but Kehoe used a legislative trick to re-introduce a scaled down version of the same bill later in the session, which passed on Aug. 30.

As recently as Sept. 4, the California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, issued a Legislative Alert calling for Catholics to urge Brown to veto Kehoe’s bill.

SB 623, said the alert, was “a hastily-concocted ‘gut and amend’ bill, designed to address the failure earlier this year of SB 1338, which would have authorized the statewide training of nurses, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners to perform first-trimester abortions. It failed, in part, because the ‘success’ touted by the project sponsors had not been professionally reported or peer reviewed.”

“With SB 623, the sponsors and managers of that project will be ‘rewarded’ with more time and more money so they can not only ‘do their homework,’ but also continue training yet more mid-level medical practitioners, who have already performed more than 8,000 abortions,” the CCC alert said.

“The CCC opposes this bill because: training midwives to kill the very babies they are trained to deliver is the saddest irony imaginable; putting more trained abortionists in the market for jobs will be a financial boon for abortion providers – such as Planned Parenthood – especially if they no longer have to pay a physician’s salary; and the primary sponsor of both SB 1338 and SB 623 is Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation,” the bishops’ legislative alert said.

At Planned Parenthood headquarters in Los Angeles on Saturday, Gov. Brown also signed into law AB 2348, sponsored by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, which makes it legal for registered nurses to dispense and administer hormonal contraceptives “in any setting” and expands the list of those authorized to prescribe hormonal contraception to include nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants.

The measure was pushed in the legislature by Planned Parenthood and its affiliates, who argued that some women were being denied access to contraception under existing law. A spokeswoman for the California Catholic Conference described it as a plan for “handing out hormonal contraceptives on every street corner.”

Planned Parenthood was quick to celebrate the legislative victory. “By signing AB 2348, Governor Brown is demonstrating his commitment to improving access to birth control and showing the rest of the nation that attacks on women’s health stop in California,” Kathy Kneer, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said in a prepared statement. “We appreciate Governor Brown’s longstanding support for women’s health and celebrate that California is the only state in the nation moving to improve access to reproductive health care.”