Please Do Not Be Silent: The Truth About the Freedom of Choice Act
By: Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi
Archdiocese of Mobile, AL
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
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
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
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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