FOCA Follies

In the wake of Barack Obama’s election victory, the pro-life movement seemed thoroughly disorganized, if not dispirited–until salvation arrived in the form of the Freedom of Choice Act, a.k.a. FOCA–a bill that would coerce Catholics into performing abortions, force the shut down of the entire Catholic health care system, and generally prove that all of the terrible things they’d said about Obama and anyone who voted for him were indisputably true. FOCA was perfect–a simple, black-and-white, good-and-evil choice that would rally the pro-life movement and put off the need for any soul-searching about their mission or tactics or effectiveness. “Better than Roe,” could have been the slogan. Those who suggested–as I foolishly did here–that FOCA might not be, pardon the term, viable, were cast into outer darkness.
Well, now even some bishops seem to be following the path to perdition, as this CNS story shows:

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Internet rumors to the contrary, no Catholic hospital in the United States is in danger of closing because of the Freedom of Choice Act.
As a matter of fact, the Freedom of Choice Act died with the 110th Congress and, a week after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, has not been reintroduced.
But that hasn’t kept misleading e-mails from flying around the Internet, warning of the dire consequences if Obama signs FOCA into law and promoting a “FOCA novena” in the days leading up to Inauguration Day.
The Catholic Health Association “is strongly committed to opposing FOCA and (the board) is unanimous that we would do all we could to oppose it,” said Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., an elected member of the CHA board of trustees since June 2006.
“But there is no plan to shut down any hospital if it passes,” he added in a Jan. 26 telephone interview. “There’s no sense of ominous danger threatening health care institutions.”
Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is CHA president and CEO, was equally sure that FOCA poses no threat to Catholic hospitals or to the conscience rights of those who work there.
“I don’t believe that FOCA will pass, although we will continue to monitor all proposed regulations for their potential to help people in this country and for any negative assault on the life issues,” she said.
As introduced in previous congresses, the legislation “has never contained anything that would force Catholic hospitals or Catholic personnel to do abortions or to participate in them,” she added.

So what is, to use an unpopular reference, Plan B?

Comments read comments(4)
post a comment

posted January 30, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Yes, what is the plan of all the vocal (stridently so) activists who have stirred up the Catholic congregations into fits of hysteria over the “imminent” passage of a bill that will “mandate infanticide.” This is the exact language used in our small, rural parish over the last 3 weeks.
Any attempt to have a rational civics conversation about expired bills and the amount of time between introduction, and the system of subcommittees and committees was met with cold stares, and accusations that I am “out of compliance with the magisterium” if I am not willing to speak out against FOCA.
Good grief. So now what?

report abuse


posted January 31, 2009 at 1:24 am

Only individuals poisoned with cynicism would describe FOCA as “salvation” and “Better than Roe” for Catholics who are concerned about life issues and the ability of the church to practice it’s faith freely.
It would be like implying that people with a negative view of Pope Benedict are enjoying the fact that some Jewish people were offended by the Pope’s attempts to heal a schism in the Church.
Schadenfreude…distasteful…and downright icky.

report abuse


posted February 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Of course the catholic bishops are all fired up over FOCA – tell me you’re surprised???
They lost the election and need a new fight to keep the faithful in fear, uncertainty and doubt – and to keep the contributions rolling in.
“Catholics, driven mainly by pocketbook issues — actually, driven by issues other than abortion — voted for Barack Obama over John McCain by a decisive margin of 54 to 46 percent.”
“Catholics, who were one-in-four of all voters, delivered 17 million votes to Obama, twice the overall popular-vote margin. They arguably made Obama president. And they voted this way in spite of an extraordinary effort by bishops to warn their dioceses about things like FOCA.”
(Hell and damnation, fire and brimstone just don’t work like they used to…)
“….and all those young people who voted in hordes for Obama, including the 60 percent of students at Catholic colleges who believe abortion should be legal, according to a new study commissioned by the Cardinal Newman Center.”
(Maybe the church shouldn’t be running so many colleges, teaching young catholics to think for themselves….)
“The bishops understand that Catholics held the potential in this election to spare America another 35 years of Roe v. Wade,the first 35 years of which produced 50 million aborted babies. Instead, the legal permanency of abortion in America now seems guaranteed.”
Democracy in action – priceless!

report abuse


posted February 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm

The bishops should step back and listen….
I know any number of intelligent, educated folks, Catholics and others, who voted for Obama. Many of them were undecided until Palin was selected. Lots of folks from many walks of life voted for Obama just to keep her out of our government.
With any luck she’ll corral the right-wing evangelicals, highjack the Republican party and be their candidate in 2012. Obama could stay home and win that one. And we would all be entertained by SNL every time Palin gave a speech.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Pontifications. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!   ...

posted 2:38:01pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Moving on, and many, many thanks... recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site's very successful first 100 days. That ...

posted 8:29:24pm Aug. 02, 2009 | read full post »

Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0
If you thought you knew John Calvin--who turned 500 last week--you probably don't know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored ...

posted 11:53:35am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

Apologia pro vita sua...Kinda
 In my defense, I've had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it's off for a week's vacation. Anyway, ...

posted 10:51:36am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

When Benny met Barry: "I'll pray for you!"
The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said "moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church's ...

posted 12:54:28pm Jul. 10, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.