Catholic Bishops Warn Congress on Pro-Abortion "Freedom of Choice Act"

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 22, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishops Warn Congress on Pro-Abortion "Freedom of Choice Act"

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 22
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — The head of pro-life outreach for the nation’s Catholic bishops has sent a letter to members of Congress warning them about a bill that could be the most extreme measure on abortion ever introduced. The so-called Freedom of Choice Act would make unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy the national law.

But, the measure would go further and undo the abortion limits put in place in all 50 states since Roe v. Wade that have helped reduce abortions to record lows.

It would invalidate laws ranging from bans on partial-birth abortions to implementing parental involvement for teenagers to prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortions.

Though the measure has not received significant national attention — taking a back seat to the debate over Barack Obama’s votes against a bill to help newborns who survive abortions — the presidential candidate said signing it would be the first action he would take if elected.

Cardinal Justin Rigali sent the letter to Congress on Friday and warned against enactment of the proposed bill (S. 1173, H.R. 1964).

“Despite its deceptive title,” he wrote, “FOCA would deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry."

He added: "FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. And FOCA would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government to reduce abortions in our country.”

Cardinal Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote that, under FOCA, “abortion on demand would be a national entitlement that government must condone and promote in all public programs affecting pregnant women.”

While some have said the bill would simply codify the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, he added, supporters of FOCA say it “would sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies” that are now in effect because they do not conflict with Roe.

These include bans on public funding of abortions as well as “modest and widely supported state laws” protecting women’s safety, informed consent and parental rights.

With his letter, Cardinal Rigali enclosed a legal analysis by the bishops’ Office of General Counsel documenting the extreme legal impact of FOCA.

“Members of both parties have sought to reach a consensus on ways to reduce abortions in our society,” the Catholic leader concluded. “However, there is one thing absolutely everyone should be able to agree on: We can’t reduce abortions by promoting abortion…. No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions.”

Cardinal Rigali urged all members of Congress “to pledge their opposition to FOCA and other legislation designed to promote abortion,” so that “we can begin a serious and sincere discussion on how to reduce the tragic incidence of abortion in our society.”

Related web sites:
US Conference of Catholic Bishops –

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