California is on the right track where the death penalty is concerned.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement that there will be a moratorium on executions was certainly good news for the 737 people currently on death row in the state.

It was also good news for the U.S., the only Western nation that still sanctions execution. We no longer need to kill criminals in order to keep society safe. Life in a maximum security prison with no chance of parole is a much more just way to punish criminals, even those guilty of the most heinous crimes.

In announcing the moratorium, Newsom said he was not sure that society is any more justified in taking the life of a convicted criminal than the criminal was justified in committing his or her crime in the first place.

“I know people think eye for eye, but if you rape, we don’t rape,” he said. “And I think if someone kills, we don’t kill. We’re better than that.”

But Newsom also said something that struck a chord with those of us devoting our lives to ending abortion.

“I cannot sign off on executing hundreds and hundreds of human beings,” the governor said, “knowing – knowing - that among them will be innocent human beings.”

So while I applaud his decision to save the lives of those guilty of terrible crimes, I wonder why he does not extend that same protection to the most innocent among us – the children in the womb.

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, 157,350 unborn children were aborted in California in 2014, representing 17 percent of all abortions in the United States.

California, which legalized abortion four years before the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, does not have a mandatory waiting period before abortion. Underage girls don’t need the consent of a parent, nor do they even have to notify them. Since 2013, non-physicians, including nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and physicians’ assistants, have been able to legally perform abortions. Taxpayers in the state foot the bill for many abortions.

California’s devotion to abortion led it to mandate that pregnancy resource centers had to post signs notifying clients where they could obtain abortions paid for by the state. These pro-life facilities, many of them faith-based, exist to make it possible for mothers in even the most desire circumstances choose life for their babies.

That law was challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in NIFLA vs. Becerra. Last year, the pregnancy centers won on the grounds that the law violated the First Amendment right to free speech.

Also last year, the California legislature passed a bill that would have required health centers at the state’s two public university systems – California State University and the University of California – to offer chemical abortions on campus. The former governor, Jerry Brown, vetoed that measure, noting that abortion is already widely available in the Golden State.

More recently, a state assemblyman proposed a bill that would mandate the inclusion of a Planned Parenthood hotline number on every middle school, high school and college student’s ID. The state is also one of 20 state planning to sue the Trump administration for its decision to divert Title X funding away from health-care providers that perform abortion.

It does not seem that a moratorium on abortion in California will be announced any time soon. Voters in the state have the means to vote pro-abortion politicians out of office, but those of us watching from afar can only pray.

As we fall to our knees, let’s consider this statement by Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, and pray that someday the state’s lawmakers will understand that the innocent also deserve to be protected from an unjust death.

“… The most important reasons for ending the death penalty are moral,” the archbishop said. “Every human life is precious and sacred in the eyes of God and every person has a dignity that comes from God. This is true for the innocent and it is true for the guilty.”