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Please Do Not Be Silent: The Truth About the Freedom of Choice Act

Archbishop's Article 

By: Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi
Archdiocese of Mobile, AL

01-30-2009

What is "FOCA?" There will assuredly be more public information about FOCA in the coming days. FOCA stands for "Freedom of Choice Act." It is an effort by those supporting the right to an abortion to enact into law the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. FOCA would codify Roe v Wade and even go beyond it.

FOCA states that every woman has a "fundamental right" to have an abortion and no government (federal, state, or local) may "deny" or even "interfere with" this right. FOCA would overturn a wide range of laws enacted by the people and their elected representatives over 35 years -laws upheld under the Roe v. Wade decision. FOCA would invalidate any:  

"statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action" of any federal, state, or local government or governmental official (or any persons acting under governmental authority) that would "deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose" abortion, or would "discriminate against the exercise of the right...in the regulation or provision of benefi ts, facilities, services, or information.." Senate bill 1173 and House bill H.R. 1964 (2007)  

FOCA would not allow states to protect women from unsafe abortion clinics. In fact, language in FOCA which would have permitted states to establish regulations necessary to protect the life and health of women in abortion clinics has been removed.  

FOCA would likely prohibit all regulations allowing information about alternatives to abortion from being given to women since this would possible cause delay and "interfere" with the "fundamental right" to an abortion.

FOCA would prohibit laws which require that parents give consent to, or even be notifi ed of, an abortion performed on their daughter who is under 18.  

FOCA will require American taxpayers to pay for abortion. The Roe v. Wade decision did not require taxpayer payment for abortion. FOCA requires that the government may not discriminate against abortion in publicly funded programs.  

FOCA would require states to allow "partial birth" abortions. A "partial birth" is when the child is substantially removed from the mother’s womb and then killed.  

FOCA would require states to allow abortions by non-physicians. A woman would have a "fundamental right" to an abortion which could not be restricted to licensed physicians.  

FOCA would prohibit laws protecting the right of a person to decline to participate in an abortion because of his or her conscientious objection. FOCA has removed language found in previous bills which would allow regulations to protect the conscience of those who are morally opposed to abortion. This creates the possibility that doctors and nurses could not decline to participate in an abortion because it violated their conscience.

FOCA would also threaten to create a situation in which Catholic hospitals could no longer refuse to provide abortions in their hospitals.  

In short, FOCA is the most radical and extreme abortion legislation ever considered in this country. It will not make abortion safe or rare. Instead, it will actively promote abortion. It will promote the abortion industry. It will threaten the continued existence of Catholic healthcare in this country. It will sacrifice unborn children to a radical political ideology and silence the voices of Americans who wish to engage in a meaningful discussion over the availability, safety, and desirability of abortion.  

Please let our senators and congressmen know you are opposed to FOCA. Parishes have postcards which can be sent to our representatives in Congress. Use these postcards or write a letter. Please do not be silent. 

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