In a statement released today, Francis Cardinal George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, made it clear that the bishops will fight any expansion of abortion rights that may occur under the next administration. Specifically, the bishops are objecting to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), a bill so sweeping and draconian that it would not only repeal every single state restriction on abortion, it would seriously jeopardize the right of Catholic hospitals and doctors to opt out of performing abortions.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue released the following remarks:
“Cardinal George is right to label FOCA ‘an evil law that would further divide the country.’ At stake are two issues: a) the rights of the unborn and, b) religious liberty.
“First, those who admit that abortion should be rare unwittingly acknowledge that there is a reason to limit its frequency: as Cardinal George said, ‘abortion kills.’ By contrast, no one maintains that root canals should be rare, and that is because this medical procedure—unlike abortion—does not result in the total denial of someone else’s rights.
“Second, religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment and cannot be trespassed upon lightly, and certainly not by abortion zealots. Those who support FOCA must realize that if Catholic hospitals are ever required to perform abortions, the bishops will close every one of them; no one would be hurt more than the poor.
“Cardinal George explicitly rejected the ‘common good’ mantra of the Catholic Left that justifies legal abortion while pursuing ameliorative social policies that may reduce abortions. At stake, he said, is the ‘legal protection of the unborn,’ something which is rejected by Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholic Democrats. We hope they amend their ways and fall in line with Catholic thought on this grave matter. If they do not, they will become indistinguishable from Catholics for Choice, a fully discredited organization.”