The bishops of the United States are so alarmed at the resurrected “Freedom of Choice” Act, once again on its way through Congress but with excellent chances at passage this time, that they are urging Catholics to demand its defeat.

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which has been described as the most radical legislation ever to go before Congress, would not merely require abortion on demand throughout the United States and throughout the first two trimesters, as is usually reported, but would in effect forbid the states to restrict abortions even in the final trimester.

Even though Bill Clinton campaigned on a FOCA plank, and has since said he would sign it, he admitted recently: “Almost all Americans believe that abortions should be illegal when the child can live…outside the womb.” And that is the case even before the third trimester.

In writing to your representatives and senators, there are certain key points you should make about FOCA:

  • FOCA would legalize abortion for any reason (even sex selection!), for as many times as a woman wants one, at virtually any stage of pregnancy, in every state in the nation.
  • FOCA would strike down informed consent laws, waiting periods, parental consent laws, and even threatens medical personnel conscience clauses as well as the right of private hospitals (including Catholic hositals!) to refuse to perform abortions.

And be sure to remind them of some important and little known facts about America’s real attitude toward abortion (figures are based on Gallup polls taken in 1990 and 1992):

  • 70% support parental consent.
  • 91% support a ban on abortion for sex selection.
  • 72% support a ban on abortion after 12 weeks.
  • 86% support informed consent laws. 73% support spousal notification.
  • 75% support a 24-hour waiting period.

FOCA would go far beyond the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe decision, which annulled most state laws restricting abortion. Under FOCA, no state could restrict abortion more stringently than FOCA.

Some pro-abortion senators and congressman, fully aware of opposition to FOCA stemming from its harshness, are reported to be weighing amendments which would “soften” it. But these amendments are regarded as “cosmetic” and NOW president Patricia Ireland has said they would be part of a “good cop, bad cop routine” in order to get the legislation passed.

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