Obama and the Freedom Of Choice Act

Below is the text of the legislation that Obama is pledged to sign.  Here is an analysis from Americans United for Life assessing the likely impact of the Freedom of Choice Act.  Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate to ever run for national office on a major party ticket.

Text of the Freedom of Choice Act:

    This Act may be cited as the `Freedom of Choice Act’.
      • (A) many women cross State lines to obtain abortions and many more would be forced to do so absent a constitutional right or Federal protection;
        (B) reproductive health clinics are commercial actors that regularly purchase medicine, medical equipment, and other necessary supplies from out-of-State suppliers; and
        (C) reproductive health clinics employ doctors, nurses, and other personnel who travel across State lines in order to provide reproductive health services to patients.
    • (1) The United States was founded on core principles, such as liberty, personal privacy, and equality, which ensure that individuals are free to make their most intimate decisions without governmental interference and discrimination.
      (2) One of the most private and difficult decisions an individual makes is whether to begin, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy. Those reproductive health decisions are best made by women, in consultation with their loved ones and health care providers.
      (3) In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479), and in 1973, in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113) and Doe v. Bolton (410 U.S. 179), the Supreme Court recognized that the right to privacy protected by the Constitution encompasses the right of every woman to weigh the personal, moral, and religious considerations involved in deciding whether to begin, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy.
      (4) The Roe v. Wade decision carefully balances the rights of women to make important reproductive decisions with the State’s interest in potential life. Under Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the right to privacy protects a woman’s decision to choose to terminate her pregnancy prior to fetal viability, with the State permitted to ban abortion after fetal viability except when necessary to protect a woman’s life or health.
      (5) These decisions have protected the health and lives of women in the United States. Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions, despite the risk of unsanitary conditions, incompetent treatment, infection, hemorrhage, disfiguration, and death. Before Roe, it is estimated that thousands of women died annually in the United States as a result of illegal abortions.
      (6) In countries in which abortion remains illegal, the risk of maternal mortality is high. According to the World Health Organization, of the approximately 600,000 pregnancy-related deaths occurring annually around the world, 80,000 are associated with unsafe abortions.
      (7) The Roe v. Wade decision also expanded the opportunities for women to participate equally in society. In 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (505 U.S. 833), the Supreme Court observed that, `[t]he ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.’.
      (8) Even though the Roe v. Wade decision has stood for more than 34 years, there are increasing threats to reproductive health and freedom emerging from all branches and levels of government. In 2006, South Dakota became the first State in more than 15 years to enact a ban on abortion in nearly all circumstances. Supporters of this ban have admitted it is an attempt to directly challenge Roe in the courts. Other States are considering similar bans.
      (9) Further threatening Roe, the Supreme Court recently upheld the first-ever Federal ban on an abortion procedure, which has no exception to protect a woman’s health. The majority decision in Gonzales v. Carhart (05-380, slip op. April 18, 2007) and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America fails to protect a woman’s health, a core tenet of Roe v. Wade. Dissenting in that case, Justice Ginsburg called the majority’s opinion `alarming’, and stated that, `[f]or the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman’s health’. Further, she said, the Federal ban `and the Court’s defense of it cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court’.
      (10) Legal and practical barriers to the full range of reproductive services endanger women’s health and lives. Incremental restrictions on the right to choose imposed by Congress and State legislatures have made access to reproductive care extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many women across the country. Currently, 87 percent of the counties in the United States have no abortion provider.
      (11) While abortion should remain safe and legal, women should also have more meaningful access to family planning services that prevent unintended pregnancies, thereby reducing the need for abortion.
      (12) To guarantee the protections of Roe v. Wade, Federal legislation is necessary.
      (13) Although Congress may not create constitutional rights without amending the Constitution, Congress may, where authorized by its enumerated powers and not prohibited by the Constitution, enact legislation to create and secure statutory rights in areas of legitimate national concern.
      (14) Congress has the affirmative power under section 8 of article I of the Constitution and section 5 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution to enact legislation to facilitate interstate commerce and to prevent State interference with interstate commerce, liberty, or equal protection of the laws.
      (15) Federal protection of a woman’s right to choose to prevent or terminate a pregnancy falls within this affirmative power of Congress, in part, because–
  • Congress finds the following:
    • (1) GOVERNMENT- The term `government’ includes a branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official (or other individual acting under color of law) of the United States, a State, or a subdivision of a State.
      (2) STATE- The term `State’ means each of the States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each territory or possession of the United States.
      (3) VIABILITY- The term `viability’ means that stage of pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular medical facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.
  • In this Act:
      • (A) to bear a child;
        (B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or
        (C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or
    • (1) deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose–
      (2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.
  • (a) Statement of Policy- It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.
    (b) Prohibition of Interference- A government may not–
    (c) Civil Action- An individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may obtain appropriate relief (including relief against a government) in a civil action.
    If any provision of this Act, or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, or the application of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those as to which the provision is held to be unconstitutional, shall not be affected thereby.
    This Act applies to every Federal, State, and local statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action enacted, adopted, or implemented before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

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  1. This would federalize every abortion in the sense that any state prohibition or regulation would be superseded…plus Obama’s healthcare plan pays for these procedures.

    Any pseudo Catholic that votes for this infanticide loving scumbag is in direct contravention with the Bishop of Rome…

  2. I understand the democrat party platform removed the “safe,legal and rare” smokescreen and defined abortion as a “need”. In N.J., my old party pushed thru the “clone to kill” bill at a mid-nite session without any news report from the local papers. Assaults against life have sprung up thru-out history. Keep on praying for sanity,work for life and know that we win no matter how hopeless it seems to us.

  3. Carlos, as much as you might not like to admit it, Catholics can licitly vote for Barack Obama if they do not vote for him because of his pro-abortion, pro-ESCR stance. For whatever reason, some people’s consciences weigh the current circumstances differently and decide that there are proportionate reasons to vote for Obama.

    I say this as someone who does not think such proportionate reasons exist and will not and could not ever vote for Obama.

  4. What follows is a release from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, D.C., issued on Tuesday, October 7, 2008. For further information, call 202-626-8820 or send e-mail to Legfederal@aol.com. NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and other NRLC staff persons are available for interviews on the subject of Mr. Johnson’s new article on National Review Online, “Unholy Messaging,” including radio debates with advocates for Barack Obama.

    Barack Obama’s sweeping agenda for pro-abortion policy changes examined by NRLC’s Douglas Johnson in National Review Online

    WASHINGTON (October 7, 2008) — The Obama campaign and its allies have adopted an extensive “messaging strategy” that seeks to persuade religiously committed Americans that Obama has a middle-of-the-road position on abortion policy and will promote “abortion reduction.”

    Douglas Johnson, longtime legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and author of an article published today on National Review Online, titled “Unholy Messaging,” calls the Obama effort “a brazen scam.”

    “The scam depends on the Obama campaign, with cooperation from the mainstream news media, deflecting attention away from Obama’s actual record, and from his extensive commitments to pro-abortion interest groups,” Johnson said. “Barack Obama is firmly committed to an agenda of sweeping pro-abortion policy changes that, if implemented, will surely greatly increase the number of abortions performed.”

    Johnson noted that a few short months ago, during his primary contest, Obama and his advocates were boasting about his record of leadership in opposition to legislation to ban partial-birth abortions, to protect infants born alive during abortions, and to require parental notification for minors seeking abortions, among other pro-life bills. “Those boasts were well-founded, and the current effort to re-package Obama as a moderate is a brazen scam,” Johnson said.

    The Obama “messaging” campaign includes a recently launched “Faith, Family & Values Tour” that will visit Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In addition, various independent groups are disseminating advertising and literature that advances the same strategy.

    Among the specific Obama positions documented in Johnson’s article (which contains extensive hyperlinks to documentation):

    — Obama is a cosponsor of the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA, S. 1173), which Johnson calls “the most sweeping piece of pro-abortion legislation ever proposed in Congress.” The FOCA is a bill that would make partial-birth abortion legal again, strike down restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion, and nullify virtually every state and federal law or policy that would in any way “interfere with” access to abortion, including parental notification laws. In a letter sent to every member of Congress by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on September 19, Cardinal Justin Rigali wrote, “No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions.” In a speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on July 17, 2007, Obama said, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.”

    — Obama advocates the nullification of state laws requiring parental notification or consent for a minor daughter’s abortion, which would be one of the effects of the FOCA. Moreover, since entering the U.S. Senate, Obama has had two opportunities to vote directly on the question of parental notification for interstate abortions on minors, and he voted “no” on both occasions.

    — Obama advocates repeal of the Hyde Amendment, the law that since 1976 has blocked almost all federal funding of abortion, even though both pro-life and pro-abortion analysts agree that this law has prevented many abortions. By even the most conservative estimate, there are more than one million Americans alive today because of the Hyde Amendment. “Because the Hyde Amendment must be renewed annually, a new president hostile to the Hyde Amendment could quickly place it in jeopardy,” Johnson observed. The FOCA would also nullify all state laws restricting state funding of elective abortion.

    — In a written response to a pro-abortion advocacy group, the Obama campaign said that Obama is opposed to continuing current federal funding for “crisis pregnancy centers,” which provide needed assistance to many thousands of pregnant women.

    — NRLC has thoroughly documented that in the Illinois state Senate, Obama led the opposition to legislation to protect babies who are born alive during abortions, and persisted in his opposition even after Congress had enacted a virtually identical federal bill without a single dissenting vote. Obama has in numerous ways actively misrepresented the content of this legislation, and his actions on it, but even when such misrepresentations were proved by NRLC and others, the major media simply let Obama abandon them and fall back to a different set of equally misleading claims.

    In his article, Johnson criticizes recent coverage in the “mainstream news media,” which, he writes, “have, with few exceptions, been very compliant with Obama’s recent efforts to downplay his hard-line pro-abortion history and policy commitments, for the purpose of winning the general election.” Typically, journalists simply describe Obama’s position as “supports abortion rights,” without giving details regarding his advocacy of federal funding of abortion, invalidation of parental notification laws, and the rest.


    NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and other NRLC staff persons are available for interviews on the subject of the Obama agenda on abortion, including radio debates with advocates for Barack Obama. Call 202-626-8820.

    Mr. Johnson’s article has been cross-posted on the NRLC website under the title “Efforts to Sell Obama to Pro-Life Americans Collide With His Support for Sweeping Pro-abortion Policy Changes.”

  5. Zach, you seem to be misinformed. Catholics, considering the stands or platforms of the current nominees, can not vote for Obama ‘licitly’. Simply stated, intrinsic evils (like abortion) can not ever be ignored and take priority over other issues in weighing factors that contribute to your decision.

    Secondly, any Catholic who feels his or conscience allows for proportionate reasoning that ignores the life issues, is not judging with a clear, informed conscience but rather has had their conscience cluttered by societal peer pressure. When in doubt, turn to the Magisterium of the Church and vote on the side of what the Church teaches.

  6. In this particular election, a Roman Catholic MAY NOT vote for Obama, even if they are not voting specifically because he is pro abortion. They would be able to vote for Obama ONLY if Mc Cain would kill over 45 million babies…in the womb or alive….or their mothers…there has to be, according to Rome and our Bishops, a ‘proportionate’ reason…since already over 45 million human babies have been killed in the womb, Mc Cain would have to pledge to kill more than that amount, or kill their mothers or….SOMETHING FAR WORSE! Since that is not the case, a Catholic may not vote for Obama…it’s not simply a matter of conscience…but of an INFORMED conscience…informed by the authorities in the Church and by the teaching of Christ in Scripture and through the teaching authority and tradition of our Church….Sam

  7. I can see the argument that certain policies reduce the abortion rate, therefore, one for other reasons and lowering the number of abortions. But given the circumstances, I find that the arguments for proportionate reasons very thin. If the Democrats take greater majorities in Congress (and they will) and Obama signs in FOCA — eliminating every pro-life law, and he replaces the 88 year old pro-choice Supreme Court Justice that’s expected to retire in the next presidency with another pro-choice Justice instead of a pro-life Justice giving us enough to overturn Roe v. Wade, and he funds abortion via the medium of universal healthcare, making it free and accessible at all nine of months of pregnancy, the question is how can one argue that the abortion rate will go down?

    Inevitably, I don’t see how a good Catholic can vote for Obama and I think I can fairly say, of Catholics loyal to the magisterium, I’m pretty liberal and even I cannot see this.

  8. I deeply question the judgment of any “pro-choice” politician and find it extremely unlikely that I could ever vote for one, but Zach is correct: the Church does hold that it *can* be permissible for a Catholic to vote for a “pro-choice” politician, if there are — as he notes — proportionate reasons. Like Zach, I cannot see any reasons justifying a vote for Obama, but we cannot overstate the Church’s teaching to mean that a vote for him would be *necessarily* wrong for a particular voter.

  9. In a joint letter with Archbishop Joseph Naumann in Kansas City, Kansas, and Bishop Robert Finn wrote:

    “If we are inclined to vote for someone despite their pro-abortion stance, it seems we are morally obliged to establish a proportionate reason sufficient to justify the destruction of 45 million human persons through abortion.

    “If we learn that our ‘candidate of choice’ further pledges – through an instrument such as FOCA – to eliminate all existing limitations against abortion, it is that much more doubtful whether voting for him or her can ever be morally justified under any circumstance.” (CNA)


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