Archdiocese Local

Catholics forecast anti-FOCA postcard blizzard

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Here’s a forecast you can depend on: Washington, D.C., will be inundated by a blizzard around Jan. 25.

Snowplows, however, won’t be needed.

A postcard blizzard of epic proportions is poised to rain down on the new 111th U.S. Congress as part of a nationwide effort to fight passage of the Freedom of Choice Act.

Parishes in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and across the nation will take part in a “Fight FOCA Postcard Campaign” after or during Masses on the weekend of Jan. 24 and 25.

Parishioners will be urged to show their opposition to FOCA by signing the postcards, which will be sent to their U.S. senators and U.S. representatives. The message on the card asks that legislators oppose this radical, pro-abortion legislation.

The postcard campaign is co-sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment.

“This campaign is needed because of the incoming pro-abortion Congress and president, who has stated strong desires for pro-abortion legislation and executive orders,” said Ron Kelsey, archdiocesan consultant for pro-life ministry.

“There is some concern whether [FOCA] will be passed all at once or incrementally,” he continued, “but the bishops want this postcard campaign regardless of which way [FOCA] goes.”

Early indications are that this campaign has struck a popular chord, said Kelsey.

“The U.S. bishops sent out an e-mail [to diocesan pro-life directors] saying they have been inundated with requests for postcards,” said Kelsey. “They’ve received requests for millions and millions of post-cards, so it’s going to be a great campaign.”

The U.S. bishops are pulling out all the stops because FOCA is the most far-reaching piece of pro-abortion legislation in the history of the United States.

FOCA would go far beyond the infamous Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions of 1973, and for the first time would make abortion not merely legal, but a federal entitlement that the U.S. government would have to fund, promote and protect.

Catholic individuals and institutions would be compelled by FOCA to support pro-abortion activities and policies. Decades of pro-life progress on the state and federal level would be swept away. The ability to regulate or limit abortion would disappear.

Pro-life advocates have worked hard for decades to have all kinds of incremental legislation passed to regulate and restrict abortion, said Kelsey. All this is threatened by FOCA, which would even make procedures such as partial-birth abortion legal.

“It will provide government funding for abortion,” he said, “and it will do many other things — such as removing conscience-protection clauses for medical immunity, as well as forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions.”

According to the USCCB Office of General Counsel, FOCA would have an impact in four broad areas.

First, under FOCA, abortion would be considered to be a fundamental right. Second, FOCA provides that government may not “deny or interfere” with the abortion decision. Third, the act provides that government may not “discriminate” against the right to an abortion in “the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.” Finally, FOCA creates a cause of action for anyone aggrieved by a violation of the act, thus resolving any question of standing.

“It is very important that we let our senators and representatives know that we are opposed to any legislation that advances abortion,” said Kelsey. “We want to stand strong for life. We don’t want them to remove current restrictions [on abortion].”

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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