Tuesday, October 21, 2008

US Bishops "gravely concerned" about FOCA

St Andrew’s to have all-night Adoration on the eve of the elections, Mon., Nov. 3. More details to follow.
The following are two items regarding our recent discussion on the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). The first is a brief summation about FOCA from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. The second is a letter to Congress from Cardinal Justin Rigali, Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, USCCB. To view these and other resources, please click on today’s title.

1) “You can’t reduce abortions by promoting abortion”

FOCA eliminates regulations that protect women from unsafe abortion clinics

FOCA forces taxpayers to fund abortions

FOCA requires all states to allow “partial birth” and other late-term abortions

FOCA subjects women to abortion by non-physicians

FOCA violates the conscience rights of nurses, doctors, and hospitals

FOCA strips parents of their right to life to be involved in their minor daughters’ abortion decision

2) Dear Members of Congress:

As the 110th Congress returns for its final weeks of legislative activity, the Catholic bishops of the United States are gravely concerned about any possible consideration of the "Freedom of Choice Act" ("FOCA," S. 1173 and H.R. 1964). Pro-abortion groups and some of the bill's congressional sponsors have said they want this legislation enacted soon.

Despite its deceptive title, FOCA would deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. And FOCA would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government to reduce abortions in our country.

The operative language of FOCA is twofold. First it creates a "fundamental right" to abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy, including a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined "health" reasons. No government body at any level would be able to "deny or interfere with" this newly created federal right. Second, it forbids government at all levels to "discriminate" against the exercise of this right "in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information." For the first time, abortion on demand would be a national entitlement that government must condone and promote in all public programs affecting pregnant women.

While some supporters have said FOCA would simply "codify" the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, their own statements disprove this assertion. FOCA was introduced the day after the Supreme Court's decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortions within the bounds of Roe — with FOCA's sponsors declaring that its primary purpose is to counteract this ruling and ensure that the grisly killing of partly-born children will once again be permitted nationwide. Sponsors also acknowledge that FOCA will require all Americans to support abortion with their state and federal tax dollars — despite a long line of Supreme Court decisions, consistent with Roe, upholding bans on public funding since 1975.

The National Organization for Women (NOW), in its materials supporting FOCA, has declared that it "would sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies" — laws and policies that are in effect today because they do not conflict with Roe. These include modest and widely supported state laws to protect women from unscrupulous and dangerous abortionists (including those who are not licensed physicians), ensure informed consent, protect parental rights in the case of minors undergoing abortions, and so on. The extreme and unprecedented scope of the "fundamental right" created by this bill is more fully documented in the attached legal analysis from the USCCB Office of General Counsel.

In recent months the national debate on abortion has taken a turn that may be productive. Members of both parties have sought to reach a consensus on ways to reduce abortions in our society. It is well documented, for example, that even modest abortion regulations such as public funding bans and laws protecting parental rights can substantially reduce abortions. Because many women have testified that they are pressured toward abortion by social and economic hardships, bipartisan legislation providing practical support to help women carry their pregnancies to term, such as the Pregnant Women Support Act (S. 2407, H.R. 3192), deserves Congress's attention. By contrast, there is considerable evidence that programs promoting contraceptive mandates and "emergency contraception" generally do not reduce abortions (see www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/contraception/index.shtml#2).

However, there is one thing absolutely everyone should be able to agree on: We can't reduce abortions by promoting abortion. We cannot reduce abortions by invalidating the very laws that have been shown to reduce abortions. We cannot reduce abortions by insisting that every program supporting women in childbirth and child care must also support abortion. No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions.

Therefore I urge all members of Congress to pledge their opposition to FOCA and other legislation designed to promote abortion. In this way we can begin a serious and sincere discussion on how to reduce the tragic incidence of abortion in our society.


Cardinal Justin Rigali
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Marion (Mael Muire) said...

Many physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals have resisted having anything to do with abortions. Until just a few years ago, the Hippocratic Oath all doctors take included a promise never to induce an abortion. Even now, there is still considerable stigma. Because of this, abortionists are somewhat marginalized within the medical community, and not as many medical students undertake to acquire this gruesome skill as the promoters of abortion would like. Those who do, do it solely for the cash ($$$$), and tend to set up their businesses in highly populated areas where they'll have no trouble bringing in patients. For these reasons, less populous regions of the country have few or no abortionists, and women and girls living in these areas may find abortions difficult to come by. This situation bothers the promoters of abortion-for-all, and so these misguided individuals have been for some time hell-bent on seeing to it that all doctors are trained to perform abortions, and all hospitals everywhere offer them.

In their view, the way to accomplish this end is by the passage of laws like FOCA - laws that force doctors to learn to perform abortions, and laws that force all hospitals to perform them.

Even Catholic doctors. Even Catholic hospitals.

No exceptions. No "conscience clauses". You will obey. Period.

Years ago, those striving to liberalize legal restrictions on abortion claimed that people of faith were "trying to force their morality on others."

Ironic, isn't it? That now that we have an abortophile running for President, Catholic institutions and hospitals face having abortion promoters "force their morality" on us.

Little do Catholics realize that by supporting Senator Obama for President, they will have helped sign the death warrant to freedom of conscience for Catholics in the United States. What a shame. Ironic, indeed.

At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in Emergency, and I eventually want to leave hospital work because of the moral and ethical issues that I see, but because of my position I am almost powerless to fix. Shady Grove's not bad, our ER docs are pretty good at what they do, but there's still the use of Plan B (it is a part of rape kits) and abortions are still promoted.

Also, everyone I work with has such a different opinion on abortion. One girl has even said that she doesn't count a baby as a baby until it is born. Another nurse has said that in her country, if they don't want a baby, they just take herbs to end the pregnancy.

After nursing school, I plan to join the Coast Guard for Search and Rescue, and work out in the real world, out in the field. At least there aren't so many ethical issues out there. But it's like that at all hospitals, even Catholic ones, and we need some big changes in the government for them to change.

Katherine Grasson EDT

At 11:08 PM, Blogger fran said...

Just released today - "Legal Protection for Unborn, Support for Mothers Both Needed, Say Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Murphy"


Also, Barack Obama does not support continuing federal funding for crisis pregnancy centers.

At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

October 26th, is Honor The Priesthood Sunday. I came across this article from a Southern Maryland priest and wanted to share.
We have heard some of this from FG, in his homilies. Through each of the sacraments,the priest becomes an integral part of our spiritual life as he, "in persona Christi", exercises his sacred powers and calls down the very real Presence of the Holy Spirit and the abundent mercy of Our loving Father.....in Baptism, in Confirmation, in matrimony, in sickness and death, in healing and forgiveness, and paramount in the most sacred act of consecrating simple bread into the Body, Blood,Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
No, priests are not perfect! As my love for the priesthood has grown, so has my realization that priests are one with us and share our human weaknesses. They face temptations and discouragement and lapses in faith....just as Peter did. And yet Christ saw beyond Peter's imperfections and frailties and loved him dearly and bestowed upon Peter his utmost faith and confidence. This is what we, too, are called to do for our priests. We are called to love them, console them, forgive them, sacrifice for them, have faith in them and certainly pray for them...just as they do for us each day. We thank you dear God, for loving us and giving us the gift of the priesthood. Amen

At 9:03 AM, Blogger CynthiaBC said...


The above website for Maryland Catholic Conference focuses primarily on topics that come up at the state level, but also has information on Congressional candidates' positions v. MCC's position on various social issues.

Faithful citizenship entails not only voting for candidates according to one's conscience, but also paying attention to what our elected officials are doing and taking the time to express one's views to them - especially when those views don't fit with popular opinion. Officeholders don't represent constituents who are silent.


Post a Comment

<< Home