By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released their official statement regarding the election of Barack Obama. While promising to support and pray for him, the statement also a issued bold warning that any attempt by the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass radical new anti-life laws would be seen as an attack on religious freedom.
The statement’s strongest language was reserved for new pro-abortion legislation known as the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which Obama promised Planned Parenthood he would sign. This radical new law would raise abortion to the status of a fundamental right and eliminate every existing legal restriction on the state and federal level.
Emphasizing the fact that Obama won election based on the economy, not on his ideology, the bishops’ statement warns: “If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve.”
It goes on to warn, “Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion.”
The statement, which was formed during the annual meeting of U.S. bishops taking place in Baltimore this week, goes on to highlight the damage that would be done to society if FOCA was passed.
“It would deprive the American people in all fifty states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. It would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government and others of good will to reduce the number of abortions in our country.
”Parental notification and informed consent precautions would be outlawed, as would be laws banning procedures such as partial-birth abortion and protecting infants born alive after a failed abortion. Abortion clinics would be deregulated. The Hyde Amendment restricting the federal funding of abortions would be abrogated. FOCA would have lethal consequences for prenatal human life.
“FOCA would have an equally destructive effect on the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and health care workers whose personal convictions do not permit them to cooperate in the private killing of unborn children. It would threaten Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Charities. It would be an evil law that would further divide our country . . .”
According to an article appearing in the Washington Post, during the drafting of the statement and discussions about FOCA, bishops took turns rising to denounce the legislation.
Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hermann of St. Louis reportedly stood up and said that “any one of us would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow — to die tomorrow — to bring about the end of abortion.”
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