Bishops Oppose Freedom of Choice Act

Call It Divisive, "Bad Legislation"

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BALTIMORE, Maryland, NOV. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops criticized the Freedom of Choice Act as "bad legislation" that would ultimately cause more division in the country.



Cardinal Francis George, the president of the U.S. episcopal conference, said this today in a statement published on behalf of the nations' bishops. The conference approved the statement upon concluding their three-day fall assembly, held in Baltimore.

Pledging to work with the Obama administration on issues of economic justice immigration, education, health care and religious freedom, the cardinal reminded the president-elect that a "good state protects the lives of all."

The statement called the Supreme Court's decision in favor of the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade a "bad court decision," and warned that it could soon "be enshrined in bad legislation that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself."

Referring to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), Cardinal George said the law would "deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry."

He continued: "FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. It would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government and others of good will to reduce the number of abortions in our country.

"Parental notification and informed consent precautions would be outlawed, as would be laws banning procedures such as partial-birth abortion and protecting infants born alive after a failed abortion. Abortion clinics would be deregulated.

"The Hyde Amendment restricting the federal funding of abortions would be abrogated. FOCA would have lethal consequences for prenatal human life."

Divisive

He said the act would "have an equally destructive effect on the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and health care workers whose personal convictions do not permit them to cooperate in the private killing of unborn children. It would threaten Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Charities."

"It would be an evil law that would further divide our country, and the Church should be intent on opposing evil," said Cardinal George.

"On this issue, the legal protection of the unborn, the bishops are of one mind with Catholics and others of good will," the conference president said. "They are also pastors who have listened to women whose lives have been diminished because they believed they had no choice but to abort a baby.

"Abortion is a medical procedure that kills, and the psychological and spiritual consequences are written in the sorrow and depression of many women and men. The bishops are single-minded because they are, first of all, single-hearted."

"The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world," the cardinal continued. "If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve.

"Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected. Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion."