WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 23, 2008 (Zenit.org).- A proposed "Freedom of Choice Act" is not about freedom at all, says the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, pointed out the faulty logic in the proposed act in a letter Friday to all member of Congress.
The act "would deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA [the Freedom of Choice Act] would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. And FOCA would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government to reduce abortions in our country," the cardinal affirmed.
Cardinal Rigali warned that the act is not a mere codification of the Supreme Court's decision to legalize abortion. Instead, it would affect anti-abortion laws and policies that are in effect because they do not conflict with Roe v. Wade. These include such things as policies to protect women's safety, parental rights and informed consent.
"The operative language of FOCA is twofold," Cardinal Rigali explained. "First it creates a 'fundamental right' to abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy, including a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health' reasons. No government body at any level would be able to 'deny or interfere with' this newly created federal right.
"Second, it forbids government at all levels to 'discriminate' against the exercise of this 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 prelate included a legal analysis of FOCA's possible consequences with his letter to Congress.
"Members of both parties have sought to reach a consensus on ways to reduce abortions in our society," wrote Cardinal Rigali. "However, there is one thing absolutely everyone should be able to agree on: We can't reduce abortions by promoting abortion. [...] No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions."
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On the Net:
Letter to Congress: www.usccb.org/prolife/
Legal analysis: www.usccb.org/prolife/