If no FOCA, what now for the anti-abortion movement?

posted by David Gibson

Obama newser.jpgThe relevant text of Obama’s 100-day newser (excerpt below, from HuffPo) indicates that the dreaded FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) is not in the offing, at all. When many of of suggested that was the case (as I did here) we were cast into outer darkness. FOCA was too good a wedge for the anti-abortion, anti-Obama bloc to wield. So what now? A modest proposal: cut the demonization (esp with red herrings) and, as pro-life leader Cardinal Rigali has, focus on things like getting Obama and others to sign on to the Pregnant Women’s Support Act. Obama still has something of a “Catholic problem,” as Michael Sean Winters put it in this NCR essay. But a bullhorn (and a bullwhip) will only deafen the Administration.

Here is Obama’s answer to the question on Notre Dame and FOCA and abortion:

REPORTER: Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?

OBAMA: You know, the — my view on — on abortion, I think, has been very consistent. I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue.

I think that those who are pro-choice make a mistake when they — if they suggest — and I don’t want to create straw men here, but I think there are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women’s freedom and that there’s no other considerations. I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with.

The reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t think women take that — that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their doctors, with their clergy.

So — so that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted presidencies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again.

And so I’ve got a task force within the Domestic Policy Council in the West Wing of the White House that is working with groups both in the pro-choice camp and in the pro-life camp, to see if we can arrive at some consensus on that.

Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that’s — that’s where I’m going to focus.

Spin or invitation? How can you not engage?

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posted May 2, 2009 at 2:37 am

David, President Obama said “Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not highest legislative priority” not “FOCA is not in the offing, at all” as you paraphrase. Millions viewed the video of candidate Obama promising “Well, the first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.” at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser.
So, rather than revising history, can you not acknowledge that the president has either broken a campaign promise or that those crazy anti abortion activists…which include the Catholic bishops…may have actually had an influence on the administration’s legislative goals (not to mention current events)? I think it is either naive or dishonest to act as if FOCA was just some manufactured threat that was “better than Roe” as you once suggested.

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posted May 2, 2009 at 8:25 am

FOCA is a misnomer, We have choices but God told Moses that murder isn’t a choice. A rose by any other name? There is absolutly no way to soften what happens to the unborn, bull horn or twitter the taking of a unborns life is God’s choice only.Thje president is right, murder is a moral question, the answer one would think would be an easy one in a country founded on moral principles.

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posted May 2, 2009 at 11:46 am

Obama is prochoice. FOCA is not a priority, but he will sign it if passed. So, I don’t think you can say he’s changed his position. At the same time, the majority of individuals in America approve of abortion under at least some circumstances. Those opposed to abortion want it ended under all circumstances. That goal is not practical. D. Gibson is correct that working with Obama to reduce the number of abortions is a practical goal. I don’t think the demonization will stop, unfortunately.

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posted May 2, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Now that the the ‘hard 50′bishops have turned over the pro-life task force to a new leader beloved by A/B Burke, bishop Finn et al..[trumpet sounds]
…..recent convert , Randle Terry whose tactic is pushing baby carriages with bloody dolls onto the Notre Dame campus. This will influence the graduating students and their parents about how they wasted $100 to $200K attending this Pagan University. Bishop D’Arcy will not be part of these demonstrations as he will be busy closing and merging parishes.. but his heart will be with the carriage pushers.

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Frank Clyburn

posted May 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Well the monkeys will continue killing their babies….as for me I’m not descended from monkeys….and I will not kill my babies!

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posted May 2, 2009 at 9:51 pm

President Obama has stayed consistant…is pro-choice…and as a pro-choice woman, I agree that prevention, education,and alternatives are much better than the procedure. However, as President Obama says, it is basicly up to the woman and those she consults and trusts…doctors included, as to whether to have an abortion or not. IMO, the decision is ultimately the womans…and no one elses.

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posted May 3, 2009 at 12:56 pm

FOCA is terribly immoral policy for a nation that presents itself as in favor of “Life,” liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and that all are created equal (note, not born, “created”, which is at conception). That continues throughout life–illness, disease, disabled, imprisoned…all life, always. We worry as a people about torture of people, and have federal laws preventing torture of animals; but we permit torture of the innocent equally created life in the womb, or somehow find euthanasia acceptable ways of eliminating inconvenient life at the other edge of life. People who resort to abortion, suicide, and euthanasia do so because we are a nation that is losing its way in terms of faith, hope, and charity (love). Our families worry more about money and selfish pride than caring for family members, raising them to love God and make good choices with their free will. Then, when they get in trouble, when family is needed most; “family” (parents, spouses, boyfriends) abandons them and robs them of hope…sending them off to an abortion or euthenasia or suicide. This is the real “inconvenient truth” of our culture. We should be looking to develop and pay with tax dollars for programs that provide hope, promote family, reduce pregnancies through a culture of respect, and encourage those with life within to choose life; we must not subsidize a culture of hopelessnss and death. May God bless us, and may he have mercy on those of us who choose our own quality of life over that of the innocent other.

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posted May 3, 2009 at 3:47 pm

David -
Have you seen anywhere any kind of intelligent discussion about just how far this whole scenario with Notre Dame and Obama can be taken….such as: will Catholic schools (and SHOULD Catholic schools) require their graduates, especially Catholic graduates, to be Pro-Life?
If the hue and cry is because of the grave offense of bestowing an honorary degree on a non-Catholic who is Pro-Choice, what of the annual bestowing of degrees on students who are Pro-Choice?
Should Catholic Universities have a Pro-Life requirement??
Is that not the next “logical” step to flow from this kind of outrageous “discussion”?
I’d be interested to see if anyone is talking about this. We seem to have no problem holding non-Catholics to a very strict Catholic standard, but what about the Catholics?
And what about Catholics who are not politicians but who work for Insurance companies, corporations, HMO’s, State Governments, Hospitals, etc who provide contraceptive services? Abortions in the first trimester? Counseling about Abortions?
Do you suppose that what is needed is some giant McCarthy-type house-cleaning here??? Can we avoid it?

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posted May 3, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Frank – what kind of a Christian are you?
Certainly not the kind that I have seen “descended” from the study of and belief in Jesus Christ.

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posted May 3, 2009 at 6:33 pm

The pro-lifers here are demonstrating what they really stand for…electing Republicans. In order to do that they must resist anything that might lower the number of abortions during the Obama administration. If abortions go down people might get the idea that it takes more than GOP lip-service to reduce the number of abortions…and we can’t have that.
So for the next few years the pro-lifers will let the babies die so their GOP candidate-handlers have an issue to use in 2010 and 2012.

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posted May 3, 2009 at 7:46 pm

ds0490 -
I certainly think that every time I read “most pro-abortion President ever” that it’s completely political. Not at all religious, spiritual or Catholic.
Clearly Obama is Pro-Choice and he has made no bones about that. He has also indicated he is very interested in reducing the actual number of abortions.
While not Pro-Life that is an encouraging sign to me. Less babies killed.
I have no patience for the Republican=Catholic mentality. It is simply not true.

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posted May 4, 2009 at 1:53 am

CJ: “I have no patience for the Republican=Catholic mentality. It is simply not true.”
Maybe you should send a memo to your priests, bishops and archbishops. They don’t seem to be on the same page of the hymnal as you.

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