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Freedom of Choice Act

Claim:   Message lists consequences that will result from passage of the Freedom of Choice Act.

MIXTURE OF ACCURATE AND
INACCURATE INFORMATION

Example:

If you are opposed to abortion then there is bad news on the horizon. For those of you who do not know, the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is set to be signed if congress passes it on January 21-22 of 2009. The FOCA is the next sick chapter in the book of abortion. If made a law then all limitations on abortion will be lifted which will result in the following:

1) All hospitals, including Catholic hospitals will be required to perform abortions upon request. If this happens Bishops vow to close down all Catholic hospitals, more then 30% of all hospitals in the United States.

2) Partial birth abortions would be legal and have no limitations.

3) All U.S. tax payers would be funding abortions.

4) Parental notification will no longer be required.

5) The number of abortions will increase by a minimum of 100,000 annually.

Perhaps most importantly the government will now have
control in the issue of abortion. This could result in a future amendment that would force women by law to have abortions in certain situations (rape, down syndrome babies, etc) and could even regulate how many children women are allowed to have.

Needless to say this information is disturbing, but sadly true. As Catholics, as Christians, as anyone who is against the needless killing of innocent children, we must stand as one. We must stop this horrific act before it becomes a law.

The Plan:

To say a novena (9 days of prayer) along with fasting starting on January 11th. For Catholics, the prayer of choice will be the rosary with intentions to stop the FOCA. For non Catholics I encourage you to pray your strongest prayers with the same intentions, also for nine consecutive days. The hope is that this will branch and blossom as to become a global effort with maximum impact. We have very little time so we all must act fast. Just do three things:

1) Pass this letter to 5 or more people

2) Do it in three days or less

3) Start the novena on January 11th and pray for nine consecutive days.

(please also fast for at least two days during the novena)

Remember that with God all things are possible and the power of prayer is undeniable. If you are against the senseless killing of defenseless children then the time is now to do something about it!

May God bless you all!!
 

Origins:   The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), legislation which seeks to prohibit governmental restrictions on abortions performed prior to fetal viability, was introduced initially to the 108th Congress in 2004 and again to the 110th Congress in 2007. In both cases the House and Senate versions of the bills have been referred to committee with no further action taken.

As summarized by Congress, the Freedom of Choice Act:
Declares that it is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to: (1) bear a child; (2) terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability; or (3) terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect her life or her health.

Prohibits a federal, state, or local governmental entity from: (1) denying or interfering with a woman's right to exercise such choices; or (2) discriminating against the exercise of those rights in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information. Provides that such prohibition shall apply retroactively.
Given the wording of the legislation, how it would be interpreted and applied should it be passed into law is currently a matter of some ambiguity, a situation that has led to number of claims and counter-claims from proponents and opponents of the bill — such as the ones expressed in the e-mailed appeal quoted above:
 
  • All hospitals, including Catholic hospitals will be required to perform abortions upon request.
  • Whether the FOCA would require Catholic hospitals (and other health care providers) morally opposed to abortion to perform that procedure upon request is a matter of contention. Opponents maintain that FOCA would override current freedom-of-conscience laws, thereby forcing health care organizations to either perform abortions or risk losing any government funding they may receive:
    While there is strenuous debate among legal experts on the matter, many believe the act would invalidate the freedom-of-conscience laws on the books in 46 states. These are the laws that allow Catholic hospitals and health providers that receive public funds through Medicaid and Medicare to opt out of performing abortions. Without public funds, these health centers couldn't stay open; if forced to do abortions, they would sooner close their doors.
    Proponents claim that since FOCA specifically prohibits governmental entities from imposing restrictions on abortion, it would not require non-government institutions such as Catholic hospitals to offer abortions upon request (whether or not they currently receive any government funding):
    Would FOCA force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions?

    Unequivocally no, says Jill Morrison, senior counsel at the National Women's Law Center. Federal conscience clause law, such as the Church Amendment, states that simply receiving public funding does not turn a hospital into a "state actor," Morrison explains. "FOCA must be read consistently with existing federal law, unless the new law explicitly provides that it is intended to repeal existing law."

    Morrison adds, "A hospital is not a state actor, and cannot be magically transformed into one due to its getting Federal funding, as set forth in the Church Amendment."

  • Partial birth abortions would be legal and have no limitations.
  • This is likely not completely accurate. The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 currently prohibits partial-birth abortions in the U.S. Even If FOCA overrode this law, its wording prohibits restrictions on abortion "prior to fetal viability" and "after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the mother," so it could therefore be interpreted as not prohibiting restrictions on partial-birth abortions after the point of fetal viability when the health of the mother is not an issue.
     

  • All U.S. tax payers would be funding abortions.
  • To what extent the passage of FOCA might result in "U.S. tax payers funding abortions" is also a matter of contention. FOCA contains no provisions for direct federal (or other governmental) funding of abortions, and the 1976 Hyde Amendment currently prohibits the use of any federal Medicaid funds to cover the costs of abortions.
     

  • Parental notification will no longer be required.
  • A plausible result of FOCA would be the overriding of laws requiring parental notification for abortions performed on minors.
     

  • The number of abortions will increase by a minimum of 100,000 annually.
  • To what extent passage of FOCA might increase the occurrence of abortion in the U.S. is also matter of contentious speculation. Opponents claim that removing current restrictions on abortion (such as parental notification requirements and bans on partial-birth abortions) would result in a significant increase in the abortion rate. Proponents maintain that FOCA would primarily serve to protect rights already place by serving as a bulwark against the imposition of additional restrictions on abortion (or the overturning of Roe v. Wade) and would therefore likely not result in a significant increase in the abortion rate.
     

  • This could result in a future amendment that would force women by law to have abortions in certain situations (rape, down syndrome babies, etc) and could even regulate how many children women are allowed to have.
  • The statement is unfounded. FOCA itself contains no provisions for "forcing women by law to have abortions in certain situations," and it specifically states that "every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child."

    Last updated:   19 January 2009

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    Sources:

        Douglas, Emily.   "What Would FOCA Really Do?"
        RH Reality Check.   25 November 2008.

        Goldberg, Cary.   "Shots Assist in Aborting Fetuses."
        The Boston Globe.   10 August 2007.

        Henneberger, Melinda.   "Lose-Lose on Abortion."
        Slate.   24 November 2008.

        Johnston, James V.   "Get Familiar with FOCA Legislation."
        The Mirror.   24 October 2008.