By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The nation’s premier pro-life legal organization has launched a new project aimed at stopping passage of the most radical pro-abortion legislation in the nation’s history.
With the full support of President-elect Barack Obama, congressional Democrats are poised to pass the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), a law that will make abortion a “fundamental right” much the same as the right to vote and the right to free speech. By doing so, this new federal law would automatically invalidate every federal, state and local law placing even the most common sense restrictions on abortion.
“Ninety-nine percent of the American public has no idea that this bill even exists and they certainly don’t realize the grave import of what this will do,” said Daniel McConchie, vice president of Americans United for Life, a pro-life legal organization that has launched Fightfoca.com to prevent passage of the bill.
“’Freedom of Choice’ sounds so benign but people have simply no comprehension of what a radical piece of legislation this is,” McConchie said.
Radical pro-abortion forces within Congress have been trying to pass this law since 1989 but their efforts have been stymied by either pro-life Presidents in the White House or pro-life majorities in Congress.
However, last week’s election gave Democrats a new super-majority as well as a strident pro-abortion president who promised on the campaign trail to make the signing of this extreme legislation one of his first priorities in office. The combination of these forces could mean that FOCA has finally seen its day.
Although proponents of FOCA routinely tell the media the law would simply “codify Roe,” in reality, it goes far beyond that landmark 1973 decision. Not only would it enshrine the right to abortion-on-demand into American law, but FOCA specifically states that it must invalidate any other federal state or local law that would “deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose” abortion, or that would “discriminate against the exercise of the right . . . in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.”
This means that every piece of legislation placing commonsense and protective restrictions on abortion that the majority of Americans support, such as the ban on partial birth abortion, parental and informed consent laws, abortion clinic regulations, restrictions on taxpayer funding and the requirement that only a doctor can perform an abortion, would all be nullified.
In the bill’s own language, FOCA would apply to any federal or state law “enacted, adopted, or implemented before, on, or after the date of its enactment.”
“The bottom line is that if FOCA passes you’ll have abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy for any reason in all 50 states and pay for it with our taxes,” McConchie said.
His organization created the idea of Fightfoca.com this summer when Sen. Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee for President. Obama had made a very public promise to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in July of 2007 that the first thing he wanted to do as president was sign the Freedom of Choice Act.
The purpose of Fightfoca.com is to bring this radical bill to the attention of the American public and to send a strong message to Congress about the overwhelming disfavor this kind of a bill has with the American people.
Polls conducted by both sides of the abortion debate show that only a fraction of the public supports abortion-on-demand throughout nine months of pregnancy.
For instance, a Marist College poll conducted shortly before the election found that a quarter of Americans believe abortion should be allowed only during the first three months of pregnancy and a third believe it should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Only 8 percent of the public favors unrestricted access to abortion.
Surprisingly, the same poll found that even among Americans who describe themselves as “pro-choice,” 71 percent of these respondents still say they favor some kind of restriction on abortion.
Clearly, most Americans want to see fewer abortions, but history has shown that in states with laws similar to FOCA, unfettered access has caused the rate of abortions to be significantly higher than the national average.
For instance, according to the Family Research Center, in Mayland, FOCA-type legislation has been on the books since 1991. While the national abortion rate is 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women, Maryland’s abortion rate is 31.5 abortions per 1,000 women.
The situation is similar in other states with FOCA-type laws such as California where the abortion rate is 27.1 per 1,000 women; in Connecticut, the rate is 23.6; Hawaii has a rate of 21.8; and Nevada has a rate of 27.0.
No one who claims to want to reduce the number of abortions would ever support this kind of legislation and yet hundreds of lawmakers are poised to do just that when the bill comes to the floor as early as January, 2009.
“The freedom of choice act has a good chance of passing the house,” McConchie said, “but it’s going to have a tough time getting through the senate if only because of the filibuster rules and the ability of individual senators to put holds on it.”
If the bill passes, lawsuits will be launched but he does not believe they will be successful because of the supremacy clause in the U.S. Constitution which ensures that federal law always trumps state law in areas where federal law is in conflict with the states.
Once the bill passes, there will be only one recourse – vote the proponents out of office and elect pro-life legislators who are willing to overturn it.
For more information, visit www.fightfoca.com
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