The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is the most radical piece of abortion legislation in United States history. Obama has stated that this is one piece of legislation he wants to get pushed through the 111th Congress.
FOCA would literally do an end run on all existing controls concerning abortion in this country. Below are the facts and myths on the so called FOCA legislation.
Myth: The Freedom of Choice Act basically codifies the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe vs. Wade.
Fact: FOCA goes far beyond even Roe in allowing and promoting abortion.
Some say FOCA (S. 1173, H. R. 1964) would simply codify Roe vs. Wade, 410 .S. 113 (1973), the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that declared a constitutional "right" to abortion and invalidating anti-abortion laws in all 50 states.
FOCA IS EVEN WORSE.
FOCA states that every woman has a "fundamental right" to have an abortion. No federal, state or local government may deny or interfere with this right. No government may discriminate against the exercise of this right when regulating or providing benefits, facilitates, services or information to the public. Abortion may not be treated differently from live birth. Public programs that support motherhood must equally support abortion.
FOCA endangers a wide range of laws enacted by the people and their elected officials over 35 years. Laws that were upheld under Roe and cases applying it. These laws include; informed consent, parental notification, physician licensure, clinic safety and taxpayer funding.
FOCA's far reaching role on abortion is more radical than anything wrought by Roe. For example:
1. FOCA will invalidate laws to protect a woman from unsafe abortion clinics and to ensure that she is informed about abortion.
Roe permitted regulation of the facility in which the abortion procedure is to be performed to protect women's health and permitted other regulation after the first trimester or first 3 months when reasonably to related to mental health,
(Title 410 U.S. at 163, 164).
Later Supreme Court cases (Planned Parenthood vs. Casey 1992) clarified that laws protecting maternal health are permissible throughout pregnancy. Nothing in Roe prevents law requiring that a women's consent to an abortion be informed.
The current version of FOCA actually removes language found in previous versions of the bill to permit regulations that are medical necessary to protect the life or health of women. Informing women about abortion and alternatives involve some delay and may lead some women to change their decision. Laws ensuring informed consent are seen as interfering with the abortion right.
2. FOCA will require taxpayers to pay for abortions.
Roe said nothing about abortion funding. Later Supreme Court cases held that Roe implies no limitation on the authority of the state to make a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion and implementing that judgment by the allocation of public funds (Maher vs. Roe 1977, Harris vs. McRae 1980).
The current version of FOCA removes language found in previous versions of the bill ensuring taxpayers will not be forced to pay for abortions. It declares that government may not discriminate against abortion in publicly funded programs.
3. FOCA will require states to allow partial birth abortions and other late term abortions.
Roe allowed states to ban abortions after viability or when a child can survive outside the womb. They also included exceptions for the mother's health. Later decisions have upheld laws placing various limits on late term abortions and upheld a federal law banning partial birth abortions even before viability and without a health exception (Webster vs. Reproductive Services 1989 & Gonzales vs. Carhart 2007).
FOCA's insistence on a fundamental right to abortion throughout pregnancy would set the clock back on these gains. Sponsors say it's specifically intended to invalidate the partial birth abortion ban that was upheld this year within the bounds of Roe.
4. FOCA will require states to allow abortions by non-physicians.
Roe permitted a state to proscribe any abortion by a person who is not a physician. FOCA does authorize such laws and would likely result in their invalidation. This places all women at RISK.
5. FOCA will bar laws protecting a right of conscientious objection to abortion.
Roe cited with approval an AMA (America Medical Association) resolution that no physician, hospital or hospital personnel shall be required to violate personally held moral principles (410 U.S. at 143 & n.38).
The current version of FOCA removes language found in previous versions of the bill to permit regulations to protect conscience.
6. FOCA will deny parents an opportunity to be involved in their minor daughter's abortion decision.
Roe expressly declined to rule on laws ensuring that parents may be involved (410 U.S. at 165 n.67), and later Supreme Court cases held that nothing in Roe prevents such laws (E.g., H.L. vs. Matheson).
The current version of FOCA removes language found in previous versions of the bill permitting such laws. Instead it states absolutely that any law which would interfere with the individual's decision making is invalid.
A vote for FOCA is a vote against modest, reasonable, widely supported laws that promote and protect women's health, ensured informed consent, protect minors and ensure parental involvement, safeguard rights of conscience and respect the desire of most citizens not to pay for abortions with their tax dollars. It is the most radical and extreme abortion legislation ever considered in the United States.
P.S. At the time of this article the new Congrees turned their focus on expanding the abortion industry. Sen. Reid introduced the Prevention First Act. It would greatly expand government tax payer funding of abortion.
Source materiel: USCCB Office of the General Counsel
Armand Christopher Hale is retired as a master sergeant in the United States Air Force. He served over 23 years and was stationed in Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. He has a degree in logistics management and plans to write a book about his service in Qatar.
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