Fighting FOCA

FOCA, the Freedom of Choice Act, may be one of the defining issues of our day.  It may be one of those forks in the road for the USA and the world.

I direct your attention to initiatives through which you can make your thoughts known on a wider scale, but joining your name to that of others.

I imagine some of you will have your own links.

In posting these links I am not indicating a preference of one initiative over or against another:

Here is one

I got this from a priest reader:

Dear Friends:
Obama has stated making FOCA law is a top priority for him. This is absolutely disastrous for pro-life. Below is an excerpt from a ZENIT interview. See the link at to add your name to the 200,000 so-far signatures for FIGHT FOCA.
As a federal statute under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the so-called Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would declare abortion to be a "fundamental right" at every stage of pregnancy and would, thereby, specifically invalidate any "statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action" of any federal, state, or local government that would "deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose" abortion, or that would "discriminate against the exercise of the right […] in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information."

The language of FOCA is clear and absolute. FOCA would compel state and federal public funding of abortion on demand and invalidate every state, federal and local regulation on abortion and abortion practice enacted over the past 35 years, including all limits on partial birth abortion, all parental involvement laws, and all laws protecting rights of conscience relating to abortion.

So, we’re extremely concerned about FOCA, though encouraged by the 200,000 who have so far signed our FightFOCA petition at

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Fr. BJ says:

    Here is a sample letter that you can use to write to your elected officials:

  2. John says:

    As much as I hate to say it, I hope Obama pursues FOCA aggresively.

    This evil should be fought while we have a relatively sympathetic Supreme Court and before the democratic magority in Congress solidifies into a generation long institution.

  3. EJ says:

    “As much as I hate to say it, I hope Obama pursues FOCA aggresively.”

    I don’t want to take this comment out of context, but I can’t fathom how someone would even think this, considering the-now very real threat of a Senate supermajority for the Democrats, and the fact that the political balance of the Supreme Court stands at about 60/40 in favor of liberal causes – our hopes and our prayers should be completely united so that Obama should experience a CONVERSION. Cardinal Stafford was absolutely right to lament the betrayal of the Catholics who voted for Obama. And I can totally vouch for the fact that it was liberal bishops, priests, and chanceries who were responsible for the 70% of the Hispanic Catholic vote going for Obama. I was horrified that the post-election editorial of the Spanish-language newspapaer of the Archdiocese of Washington featured an ecstatic celebration of Obama’s victory.

  4. kat says:

    this is what my dh, a military physician wrote at his blog,

    A friend sent me this link to a New York Times article. The upshot of the article is that doctors (and other medical professionals) who oppose (and won’t perform) abortion and contraception on moral grounds don’t need any protection.

    Not too surprisingly, the Obama administration is in favor of forcing medical professionals to engage in these acts; sadly, the medical establishment (e.g., the AMA and its organs such as the New England Journal of Medicine, which is heavily pro-abortion) is in line with the Obama administration. This battle has been going on for years; it will heat up in the new year as the new Administration has stated that getting FOCA passed will be a priority.

    And how, you might ask, can a physician be forced into such things? Simple: medicine is the most highly regulated profession out there. Physicians can lose privileges for any number of reasons; hospitals can lose certification for any number of reasons. And, if that doesn’t work, you just don’t pay them (this may happen under the new administration anyway, but that is a separate topic).

    Some years back I saw an article in a Catholic bioethics journal arguing that the day may soon come when Catholic physicians and Catholic hospitals simply can’t practice medicine. This is a distinct possibility. Perhaps we can all get a job at GM.

  5. Howard says:

    I was signature #116727. I’m glad to see the number rising — presently at more than 259,341 — but I think it would take a few tens of millions to make a difference.

    A “soft” persecution, such as that under Julian the Apostate, is more likely than a “hard” persecution. Julian made it illegal for Christians to be teachers; Obama may try to make it illegal for Catholics acting in good conscience to be doctors, nurses, etc. I can’t imagine him doing this if it becomes clear that, rather than act in a bad conscience, Catholics are willing to abandon health care. That’s the trillion-dollar if. I’m afraid I don’t believe there will be enough consistency in the Catholic position to deter him.

  6. Marcus Woods says:

    The battle over FOCA at the federal level may be lost already. While it may sound fanciful, perhaps, the focus of our efforts should be persuading and working with elected officials at the state and local levels to maintain the status quo in the states in direct opposition to the FOCA mandate from the federal government. While such civil disobedience at the state and local level may require more courage than our elected officials possess, such an act of open disobedience would prevent the spread of such evil in our country. The federal government will sanction those states that rebel in this way, but what is a little discomfort when compared to the alternative.

    With respect to the Catholic health care system in the United States, no one should be “threatening” to shut down Catholic hospitals. The Catholic Church provides approximately 40% of the health care here. The new administration wants to close down the Catholic health care system in order to create a “health care crisis” and to get rid of the last major bulwark against universal abortion. Such a crisis will require the federal government to nationalize health care and all of those formerly-Catholic health care system will be reopened as the government-owned and government-operated health care system.

    The bishops, the administrators, and other executives within the Catholic health care system should declare that not one Catholic hospital or clinic will close due to the passage of FOCA and challenge the federal government to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to enforce FOCA within the Catholic health care system. Then they should get braced and fortified for the battle.

    If we are going to fight, lets fight in a bold and effective manner and make a lasting difference. This is our government and they are our elected leaders. Let’s start acting like it.

  7. kat says:

    Catholic hospitals account for 20% of American hospitals, not 40% and since they are not one giant entity, but thousands of independant systems that were begun, funded, and staffed by thousands of different orders of nuns it would be very difficult for them to fight together. Many, such as Georgetown have already capitulated in pushing artificial birth control.

    The goal is to push all religion out of the health care field (Catholic hospitals, doctors, nurses…) and then start really down the culture of death model: euthanasia for the old and infirm, coerced abortion/sterilization, you name it. It is going to be pretty nasty and it makes me want to cry.

  8. Marcus Woods says:


    One in six people in the United States receives health care within the Catholic health care system every day. There are not “thousands of independent systems”.

    While Catholic health care may have been started by “thousands of different orders of nuns”, the situation today is much more consolidated. Much of Catholic health care has been placed within large holding companies. Most Catholic health care systems participate in professional associations, like the Catholic Health Care Association of the United States. Both of these arrangements make it very possible for them to come together and fight. But even if “it would be very difficult for them to fight together”, the bishops in the United States can do their utmost to ensure that the Catholic hospitals, etc. within their dioceses neither close nor capitulate to FOCA. Furthermore, the individual adminstrators of the individual hospitals, etc. are more than capable of opposing FOCA independently or in small groups.

    No, it is not easy, but Christians are not called to do the easy. As members of the lay faithful, we can work with the hospitals within our communities as they plan to fight FOCA. With God, all things are possible.

  9. dymphna says:

    The time for fighting FOCA was back during the
    election. The die is cast. We blew it.

  10. Janet says:

    Our weekly diocesan newspaper has all these articles and even a full page ad about fighting FOCA. Where was all this before the election, when it could have done the most good? Where were our Bishops when they could have spoken with one voice and said “One candidate vows to sign FOCA, and the other promises to veto it. Go vote for life, not death.”

    So now our Bishops are speaking out in unison against FOCA…. how nice! It would have been nicer if the half of them that voted for Obama had considered FOCA before they voted, instead of now. Forgive me, but I just got last Friday’s diocesan paper this morning, have just finished reading it, and am thoroughly disgusted and disheartened. Where was all this pro-life urgency when it was needed most… BEFORE the election?!

  11. Tina in Ashburn says:

    In case there was any hope of fighting FOCA before the change of administration, I got this from my [generally] pro-life Representative Frank Wolf:

    H.R. 1964 was introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler and was awaiting action in the House Judiciary Committee when the House adjourned on October 3. While the U.S. Senate remains in a “pro-forma” non-legislative session and there has been no announcement that the full Congress will reconvene for regular business this year, there is speculation that a lame duck session could be possible later in November to further respond to the economic crisis. The House is set to start the new 111th Congress on January 3, 2009.

  12. kat says:

    Marcus, Oh really? What about this:

    A report detailing “direct sterilizations” at Trinity Mother Frances Health Care System has caused consternation and prompted action Friday to halt procedures outlawed by the Catholic Church. Bishop of the Diocese of Texas Alvaro Corrada said Friday he was “deeply saddened and upset” to learn of tubal ligations performed in Catholic hospitals in the Diocese of Tyler.

  13. John says:


    Perhaps I was too direct. Of course,one must pray for conversion. Our position, however, is only going to get weaker during a two term (God forbid) Obama presidency. If a fight must happen, it is better to do it now.

    -The popular vote was for “change”. The Democratic victory as of now is not a ringing endorsement of abortion ideology or gay marriage. The longer Obama is in office, the more this will change.
    -Some of the Democrats who won seats are relatively conservative and may not vote for FOCA, Their attitudes will change the longer they are exposed to Pelosi.
    -A states rights argument regarding FOCA to the Supreme court has a far better chance of working now than after Obama appoints a justice.

  14. ED2 says:

    Can someone help me understand something? I read FOCA and it seems to me that its saying the government can’t make any laws restricting abortion, not that an individual doctor or hospital can’t restrict abortion. So couldn’t a doctor still follow his conscience? I don’t understand the statement in the video that father posted earlier that doctors will be forced to perform abortions.


  15. little gal says:

    If you read the comments of Raymond Arroyo- half the bishops voted for Obama themselves…

Comments are closed.