We need to stop Freedom of Choice Act again Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009 -- 1:00 AM

The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion on demand for the full nine months of pregnancy. Attempts to overrule that decision by passing a Human Life Amendment have failed.

Editor's View
Mary C. Uhler

However, federal and state laws have been passed to regulate abortions and lessen the impact of Roe vs. Wade, including: eliminating public funding of abortions, parental consent, insuring that women receive information to make an informed decision, waiting periods, conscience protection for health care workers, and partial-birth abortion ban.

Reduced the number of abortions

These laws have helped reduce the number of abortions in many areas of the country, including Wisconsin. A recent Guttmacher Institute study found that the U.S. abortion rate declined 26 percent between 1989 and 2004. The steepest decline was 58 percent among girls under 18 due also to more abstinence education.

In addition, efforts to support pregnant women and their children have continued to increase. There are many organizations providing counseling and assistance to help families choose life for their unborn children.

Previous attempts to pass FOCA

Back in 1993, there was an effort by the new Clinton Administration to wipe out any laws regulating abortions. The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would have made abortion on demand mandatory in all 50 states for any reason at any stage of pregnancy.

I still have a file on the 1993 nationwide campaign to stop FOCA. Back then, the Catholic Church sponsored a massive postcard campaign.  There was an unprecedented degree of nationwide grassroots Catholic participation. It drew on the concerns of Catholics of all political persuasions: left, right, and center.

In 1993, FOCA was approved by the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, but it never reached a floor vote and saw no action in the House. It has been introduced in at least the last four sessions of Congress without action.

Stop FOCA again

But it faces a possible resurrection again in the new Obama Administration. While he was running for president, Barack Obama promised Planned Parenthood that he would sign FOCA into law. The latest version introduced in April of 2007 would wipe out any laws regulating abortion.

We can’t let this legislation reach his desk. That’s why the Catholic Church is again conducting a postcard campaign in parishes throughout the country the weekend of January 24 and 25. Three postcards will be available to send to the state’s two senators and to the signer’s congressional representative urging them to oppose FOCA.

I encourage all concerned citizens to sign these postcards and stop FOCA again, as we did 16 years ago. We must protect laws which restrict abortions, support parents, and help save as many innocent unborn babies as we can.