Barack Obama’s Abortion Position Could Result in Closing Catholic Hospitals

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 2, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Barack Obama’s Abortion Position Could Result in Closing Catholic Hospitals

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 2
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood in July 2007 that the first piece of legislation he would sign would be the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, a bill that would overturn pro-life laws nationwide. One little-discussed aspect of the ramifications of the bill could see the closing of Catholic hospitals.

The FOCA bill has been a priority of abortion advocacy groups since the Clinton administration, when pro-life advocates were successful in fending it off.

Given the prospects of a White House and Congress controlled by abortion advocates, the potential for resurrecting the bill has caused considerable concern within pro-life circles.

Both sides of the abortion debate readily admit the measure makes unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy a national law and legal right, and that it would invalidate virtually all abortion limits approved by state legislatures in all 50 states.

But the bill could have the effect of closing down Catholic hospitals that refuse to do abortions. Here’s how:

As Cardinal Justin Rigali of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia warned in September, the FOCA bill "forbids government at all levels to ‘discriminate’ against the exercise of this [abortion] right ‘in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.’"

"For the first time, abortion on demand would be a national entitlement that government must condone and promote in all public programs affecting pregnant women," the Catholic official explained.

Michael Moses, a top attorney for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, adds that the language of FOCA is so far-reaching that it will remove any conscience clause measures from state laws that protect doctors, hospitals and medical professionals who don’t want to be involved in abortions.

Moses’ reading of the proposed legislation is that if abortion is a fundamental right that can’t ever be infringed, then every hospital and medical center must do abortions — including Catholic and other religious or private hospitals that object to do them.

John Vennari, the editor of the Catholic Family News publication, points out that the measure could easily put Catholics hospitals out of business that want to continue opting out of doing abortions rather than violate their religious beliefs

"This aspect of Obama’s candidacy has been eclipsed by endless talk about the economy," Vennari writes.

He urges Catholic leaders to discuss this very real threat.

"It is tragic that our own Catholic clergy have not effectively warned the people under their charge of this danger. This could be remedied if every priest in every diocese in the country would inform their congregations this Sunday of the grave threat to the lives of the unborn, and to the continuance of Catholic hospitals, that an Obama presidency poses," he concludes.

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