Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Catholic Churches Again Raising Specter of Hospitals Closing Due to FOCA

CBS News: Abortion Foes Warn Of Hospital Closures, by Brian Montopoli:

On the past two Sundays, parishioners at the Holy Family Church in Nutley, New Jersey, have received a stark warning: If the Obama administration and Democratic Congress have their way, Catholic hospitals around the country will be forced to close.

The reason? A piece of legislation known as the Freedom Of Choice Act, or FOCA, that opponents believe will force hospitals and doctors to perform abortions even if they have moral opposition to doing so....

Debate rages among legal scholars over whether FOCA, if instituted, would really overturn "conscience" protections and thus potentially mean the closures of Catholic hospitals, which make up about a third of all hospitals in the country.

According to Ted Miller, the communications director at NARAL Pro-Choice America, Maryland is among the states that have adopted FOCA-like legislation in an effort to codify abortion protections, "and you don't see Catholic hospitals closing in Maryland." But as Melinda Henneberger notes, Sen. Barbara Boxer, who introduced FOCA in the Senate, said in a statement that the legislation "supersedes any law, regulation or local ordinance that impinges on a woman's right to choose" - which could be taken as a sign that it would invalidate prior "conscience" clauses....

FOCA won't see passage anytime soon, he says, because according to NARAL's calculations, there are only 40 truly "pro-choice" senators in the 111th Congress and 146 "pro-choice" representatives in the 111th Congress - not nearly enough to pass the legislation.

The Catholic Church loves this gremlin.  For a reality check, see Catholic Church Creating Premature Uproar Over FOCA and Religious Refusals  and Slate Opinion Piece on Obama's Intentions to Sign Freedom of Choice Act (which includes a response to Henneberger's piece).

Abortion, Congress, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink

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