by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It’s the most dangerous piece of pro-abortion legislation in the history of the United States, and the bishops are mobilizing Catholics to fight it.
This proposed bill is FOCA, the Freedom of Choice Act, which was first introduced into Congress in 1989, and reintroduced in 2007. It would be difficult to overstate the threat represented by FOCA, said Ron Kelsey, archdiocesan consultant for pro-life ministry.
“FOCA is the most radical, the most extreme piece of pro-abortion legislation that the United States has ever seen,” said Kelsey.
“Basically, it would sweep aside all restrictions and enshrine an absolute right to abortion into U.S. law,” he continued. “The bottom line is that it could increase the number of babies killed annually by abortion by about 125,000.”
FOCA would “create a fundamental right to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy,” according to the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment.
Furthermore, according to NCHLA, “no governmental body at any level” could interfere or discriminate with this right “in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.
“For the first time, abortion would become an entitlement that the government must condone and promote.”
“That’s a strong word — ‘promote,’” said Kelsey. “For example, it could position abortion equally to adoption. By law, these would have to be treated the same in terms of government support.”
During their annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 11, the U.S. bishops issued a statement saying they looked forward to working with the incoming Obama administration, but they expressed concern about the harms resulting from passage of FOCA.
The bishops are worried because of President-elect Obama’s past support for FOCA.
In his “Statement on the 35th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade decision,” on Jan. 22, Obama touted his “100 percent pro-choice rating” and said that he would “continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.”
In answering a question at a Planned Parenthood event that he spoke at on July 17, 2007, then-candidate Obama said that the first thing he’d do as president was to sign FOCA into law.
Obama was a cosigner of FOCA while a member of the Senate, and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was a cosigner of the bill while a member of the House.
In January, the NCHLA, with the support of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will launch a nationwide postcard campaign on the weekend of Jan. 24 and 25. These postcards, expressing opposition to FOCA and similar measures, are addressed to members of Congress.
But FOCA isn’t the only threat the bishops and pro-life leaders are concerned about. They’re worried that when Obama takes office in January, he will promote a pro-abortion agenda that includes:
• supporting China’s coerced abortion policy through the U.N. Population Fund
• ending the Mexico City Policy, which prohibited funds for nongovernmental organizations that promote abortion overseas
• eliminating restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research
• lifting the ban on abortions being performed on U.S. military bases and other medical facilities
• promoting state and federal funding of abortions.
“Because of the unprecedented threats posed by FOCA and other proposed pro-abortion policies, we’re at a critical time for Catholics to unite with their bishops to stand in defense of life,” said Kelsey.
“We are fortunate in our archdiocese to have such a strong pro-life leader in Archbishop [Joseph F.] Naumann,” he continued. “We need to listen to his teaching and follow his lead.”