We pray there will be many issues upon which we can work in wholehearted unity with our country’s new administration and members of Congress. But today I urge all Catholics—those who voted for our president-elect and those who did not—to respond to President-elect Obama’s promise in his November 4 acceptance speech: “I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.”This is a call to action. He explains further:
Of particular concern to Catholics and others seeking to promote a culture of life, is Senator Obama’s public commitment to passing the Freedom of Choice Act. It is critically important that we voice our early and grave concerns to our elected officials regarding this uncompromising legislation, which is currently pending before Congress.
FOCA is dangerous. We need to oppose it. Here are some resources:
The Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA, eliminates even the most modest regulations on abortion and creates a “fundamental right” to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Despite its misleading title claiming freedom of choice, FOCA, co-sponsored by Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger and Chris Van Hollen…
Not only does FOCA eliminate legitimate conscientious choice, it actually expands the scope of laws to enhance abortion on demand by…
- Removes the choice of medical providers to refuse in good conscience to provide morally offensive services.
- Removes the choice of taxpayers to decline to have their money pay for morally abhorrent procedures.
- Removes the choice of state legislatures to undertake reasonable and widely accepted regulations of abortions, including those that increase education and family involvement while reducing the number of abortions.
A threat to all life, this legislation would also have a terrible impact on Catholic and other pro-life healthcare providers. Of particular note:
- Making abortion a “fundamental” right: Thus, policies now in place by the will of the people and legislatures in many states would be overridden across the nation. (e.g. informed consent, parental notification, and restrictions on government funding of abortions).
- Requiring an expansion of government-assisted abortions through military and public hospitals.
- Requiring greater taxpayer subsidy of abortions.I pledge that we will join with other all law-abiding religious and public interest groups in taking every action necessary to resist this blatant attempt to stifle the consciences of those who continue to hold innocent human life sacred.
FOCA trumps state laws that protect rights of providers (e.g. Catholic hospitals, pharmacists, etc.) to conscientiously object to performing abortions if such state laws are seen to in any way “interfere” with a woman’s decision to have an abortion. FOCA undermines the freedom of religion upon which our country was founded.
1 - The FOCA fact sheet by the US Bishops.
2 - The Fight FOCA petition.