In November, 2008, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted unanimously to use all the resources of the national Church to oppose any effort to enact the proposed “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA). If passed and signed into law as put forward last year, FOCA would allow and promote abortion beyond the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973.
In a statement issued at the conclusion of the November meeting, Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George, President of the USCCB, cautioned President-elect Barack Obama and the new Congress that lifting existing federal abortion restrictions, put into place since the 1973 ruling, would permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans and could be seen as an attack on religious freedom.
The USCC’s Office for Pro-Life Activities has issued a document highlighting the six key problem areas that FOCA could contain. They are:
- FOCA will invalidate laws to protect a woman from unsafe abortion clinics and to ensure that she is informed about abortion.
- FOCA will require taxpayers to pay for abortions.
- FOCA will require states to allow “partial-birth” and other late-term abortions.
- FOCA will require states to allow abortions by non-physicians.
- FOCA will bar laws protecting a right of conscientious objection to abortion
- FOCA will deny parents an opportunity to be involved in their minor daughter’s abortion decision.
Read a more complete description of the six concerns (PDF).
The USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities is undertaking a national pro-life postcard campaign to members of Congress. The campaign will be launched January 24-25 inviting all concerned citizens to send postcards to their U.S. senators and representatives encouraging them to oppose any effort to pass FOCA.
In a letter to the faithful dated January 4, Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge announced the Diocese of Raleigh will take part in the postcard campaign. The Diocesan Office of Peace and Justice/Respect Life is forwarding educational information for use in parish bulletins. Parishes are being asked to conduct the postcard writing campaign the weekends of January 18th and 25th.
Senator Richard Burr
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Senator Kay Hagan
Washington, D.C. 20510
Contact information on Members of Congress can be obtained at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.
Several important Pro-Life activities will take this month. On January 17, Bishop Burbidge will celebrate the annual Mass for Life in the Diocese at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh at 8:00 AM. That will be followed at 1:00 PM by the annual North Carolina Rally and March for Life at Nash Square in Raleigh.
On January 22, Bishop Burbidge will celebrate an 11:30 AM Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Homilist will be Bishop Peter J. Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte. This is an annual event for both dioceses in North Carolina and precedes the National March for Life that day, commemorating the Supreme Court’s abortion decision. Hundreds of North Carolinians make the trip to the nation’s capital in support of the sanctity of life.