Claude Cartaginese

FOX NEWS: "Freedom of Choice Act" Means Goodbye to Catholic Hospitals

Posted on July 27 2009 5:00 am
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“The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.  That’s the first thing that I’d do.” –Senator Barack Obama, speaking to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, July 17, 2007

Planned Parenthood, the country’s largest provider of abortions, must have been profoundly disappointed when the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), the bill so enthusiastically endorsed by Barack Obama — designed to broaden both the scope and the availability of abortions — went nowhere.

The FOCA bill, which was originally sponsored by Congressional Democrats Jerrold Nadler and Barbara Boxer — and co-sponsored by Senators Jon Corzine, Patty Murray, Frank Lautenberg, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Maria Cantwell, Diane Feinstein, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski – was an attempt to “codify Roe v. Wade” by repealing former President Bush’s ban on federally funded abortions.

If passed, FOCA would have pretty much invalidated every restriction on abortion nationwide, including parental-notification laws, informed-consent laws, and bans on the late-term procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion. Republicans and sensible Democrats did not have any real interest in it, and, fortunately, that bill was sent back to Committee and was never voted on.

That should have been the end of it.

A new version of FOCA, however, is back. As reported by Fox News contributor Father Jonathan Morris, FOCA, like a mutating virus, has been newly re-packaged and is just as insidious. Father Morris, interviewed on Sunday Morning’s program Fox and Friends, described the main difference between the old bill and the new one: The new version of FOCA now mandates that, if passed, abortion coverage must be paid for by taxpayers, regardless of what their personal stand may be on abortion. This new version of FOCA is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Father Morris outlined the nefarious consequence that would result from passage of the new version of the FOCA bill: the inevitable closure of more than 1,000 Catholic and independent hospitals. These hospitals, generally located in low-income areas and fulfilling a great need by serving the poorest members of society, are currently resigned to accept federal funding in order to remain financially sound. The passage of the FOCA bill would attach strings to that funding, which would, essentially, force those hospitals to perform abortions and other procedures which are anathema to them, such as partial birth abortions, forced sterilizations, and euthanasia.

Losing these hospitals would be no small matter. Currently, Catholic hospitals treat 92 million patients per year (accounting for 20% of all admissions) and employ 525,193 full-time and 233,934 part-time workers. It would seem obvious that the advantages of keeping these hospitals viable far outweigh any benefits that the passage of the FOCA bill would bestow upon the likes of Planned Parenthood and other abortion mills actively supporting the measure, but these days, under the Obama administration, nothing is as it seems.

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