Building the culture of life

Column: Radical pending legislation would increase abortions

by Ron Kelsey

We seem to have no shortage of crises in our society today. We now face a potential enormous one in the war on abortion if pending legislation is passed.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote to all members of the U.S. Congress on Sept.19 urging them to oppose the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA). The USCCB has called FOCA the most radical abortion legislation in U.S. history. In light of the tremendous cost in human lives due to Roe v. Wade, this statement should focus our attention on understanding this radical pending legislation.

The USCCB has been running ads to draw the attention of members of the U.S. Congress to the dangers of FOCA. It has also just provided parishes with information to help educate Catholics, including a flier depicting a bell tower with six bells. The USCCB is sounding the alarm bells. As Cardinal Rigali points out, FOCA actually promotes abortion.

The USCCB’s Office of General Counsel provided an analysis of FOCA in an Aug. 15, memorandum at the Web site: analysis.pdf ). It identifies the “likely invalidation of a broad range of state laws if challenged under FOCA, including”:

• informed consent laws

• parental notification laws

• laws promoting maternal health, if they resulted in an increased cost for abortions

• abortion clinic regulations, even those designed to make abortions safer for women

• government programs and facilities that pay for, provide, or insure childbirth or health care services generally, but not abortion

• laws protecting conscience rights of doctors, nurses and hospitals

• Laws prohibiting partial-birth abortion

• laws requiring that abortions only be performed by a licensed physician

• laws prohibiting abortion after viability

• laws requiring a brief waiting period before an abortion is performed

• laws preventing post-viability sex-selection abortions

• laws requiring abortion providers to keep certain records

• laws preventing the carrying to term of a cloned human embryo, and, quite possibly, laws preventing the implantation of an existing cloned embryo for purposes of bearing the child (sometimes known as bans on “reproductive cloning”)

The Office of General Counsel states in its summary “On balance, then, FOCA is a radical measure. . . . It would impose on the entire country an abortion regime far worse than anything wrought by Roe or cases decided under it.”

I cannot overestimate how important it is to become educated on this issue and to stay up-to-date on the progress of this legislation. We must not allow abortions to increase. One way to stay abreast is to subscribe to St. Joseph E-Briefs on the archdiocesan pro-life office Web site at: html.

Mary, Mother of Life, pray for us.

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Ron Kelsey

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