By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The former editor of the National Catholic Register says anyone who thinks the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is dead nees to take a look at the Senate’s health care reform bill.
According to a blog by Tom Hoopes, although President Obama appeared to back off of a promise he made to Planned Parenthood to make signing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) the first thing he did if elected president, the Senate’s version of health care is eerily similar.
“ . . . (L)ook at the health care bill in the Senate and see if you see what I see: On abortion, it accomplishes nearly all of what FOCA wanted,” Hoopes writes, and goes on to list the U.S. bishop’s warnings about FOCA vs. the Senate’s health care bill.
• FOCA MAKES ABORTION A RIGHT. It creates a “fundamental right” to abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy.
HEALTH BILL MAKES ABORTION A REGULATORY REQUIREMENT. “In the Senate health bill, the federal government provides or requires health insurance that does exactly that,” Hoopes writes.
• FOCA ERASES STATE LAWS. Some states require that women be told about the risks of abortion. FOCA would erase all informed-consent laws states have enacted.
HEALTH BILL SIDE-STEPS STATE LAWS, Hoopes says. Under a federal health regime, those state laws wouldn’t necessarily apply to those receiving federal health help.
• FOCA BANS MATERNAL HEALTH LAWS. Some states have laws promoting maternal health. Obama’s FOCA wouldn’t allow them.
HEALTH BILL REQUIRES FEDERAL MATERNAL HEALTH STANDARDS.
• FOCA ENDS CONSCIECE PROTECTION LAWS. “These currently allow Catholic and other pro-life hospitals, doctors, medical students and health-care workers to opt out of participating in abortion in many places,” he writes.
HEALTH BILL ALSO ENDS CONSCIENCE PROTECTION.
• FOCA OVERRIDES PRO-LIFE LAWS — any laws that prohibit a particular abortion procedure, such as partial-birth abortion, will no longer be in force.
HEALTH BILL OVERRIDES the same laws.
However, there are some FOCA items not covered by the Senate bill, but may be during the final round of negotiations, such as striking down laws that require abortions to be performed by a licensed physician, end health and safety regulations on abortion clinics and override parental involvement laws.
For this reason, Hoopes said it was wise for Catholics to include the phrase “Please oppose FOCA or any similar measure” in postcards they sent by the millions to members of Congress last year.
“Now, they need to hold accountable those who, by voting for the Senate Health bill, have voted to reach FOCA’s goals,” he says.