Considering how sweeping the Freedom of Choice Act is in its promise
(threat) to overturn all restrictions to abortion in the U.S. and
virtually enshrine it, most of the public still had not heard of it up
to election day. Some people who supported Barack Obama but considered
themselves pro-life were just hearing about it for the first time a day
or two before the elections. Others still know nothing, though it’s
getting a lot of attention now.
Some news media are guessing whether President-elect Obama will
actually try to advance it into law once he’s inaugurated. Abortion
activists are pressuring him to keep all his earlier promises to them
to expand ‘abortion rights’ drastically, and signing FOCA into law was
one of those promises.
In the week since the election, my inbox is getting several emails a
day from people across the spectrum (and the world – one came in today
from a priest in the Holy Land) urging others urging people to fight FOCA while there’s still time to make their voices heard.
Awareness of the issue is spreading rapidly.
Archbishop Edwin O’Brien quickly got this statement out after the US bishops conference ended.
Now that the extended and divisive campaign is over, we
rejoice that the president-elect has accepted the challenge of unifying
a country divided not in its desire for a better America, but in its
belief in what will truly make America better. While early exit polling
indicated that the economy was the paramount concern of six out of
every 10 Americans, we must not lose sight of the ongoing struggle our
country faces in achieving genuine respect for the freedom and dignity
of every human life.
He reminds citizens and politicians of their responsibility to the
common good. He also reminds them of President-elect Obama’s promise in
his victory speech, in his own words.
As faithful citizens, our duty to remain actively
engaged in the political process does not end at the voting booth. It
is equally important that we continue to claim our legitimate role in
the public square by urging those whom we have elected as our leaders
to uphold values we believe are fundamental to the common good. We pray
there will be many issues upon which we can work in wholehearted unity
with our country’s new administration and members of Congress. But
today I urge all Catholics – those who voted for our president-elect
and those who did not – to respond to President-elect Obama’s promise
in his November 4 acceptance speech: “I will listen to you, especially
when we disagree.”
He also said “I hear your voices, I need your help…”
So, says O’Brien and others, speak up and offer clarification of how much he can do to protect universal human rights.
Of particular concern to Catholics and others seeking to
promote a culture of life, is Senator Obama’s public commitment to
passing the Freedom of Choice Act. It is critically important that we
voice our early and grave concerns to our elected officials regarding
this uncompromising legislation, which is currently pending before
The statement provides the stark rundown of what that legislation would do.
And resolves to prevent the damage.
I pledge that we will join with all law-abiding
religious and public interest groups in taking every action necessary
to resist this blatant attempt to stifle the consciences of those who
continue to hold innocent human life sacred.