Obama Closing Catholic Hospitals?

by Joseph John Vennari, for The Bulletin
October 31, 2008

On Oct. 7, 2007, Sen. Barack Obama spoke to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and promised, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’ll do.”

What is the Freedom of Choice Act? It is the most sweeping pro-abortion legislation ever proposed in the United States.

In a letter dated Sept. 19 to members of Congress, Philadelphia’s Justin Cardinal Rigali rightly warned:

“Despite its deceptive title, FOCA would deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. And FOCA would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government to reduce abortions in our country.

“The operative language of FOCA is twofold. First it creates a ‘fundamental right’ to abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy, including a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined ‘health’ reasons. No government body at any level would be able to ‘deny or interfere with’ this newly created federal right. Second, it forbids government at all levels to ‘discriminate’ against the exercise of this right ‘in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.’ For the first time, abortion on demand would be a national entitlement that government must condone and promote in all public programs affecting pregnant women,” said the Cardinal.

It is clear the FOCA raises abortion to what it calls a “fundamental right”. Yet it is not clear if Catholics realize the threat that Mr. Obama poses to the unborn, to believing Catholics in the medical profession, and to Catholic hospitals across the nation.

Michael Moses, legal analyst of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops called it a “radical measure” that will “go way beyond Roe [vs. Wade]”. The language is so sweeping that it will wipe out any state’s “conscience” clause, which is the law that allows hospitals, doctors and nurses to abstain from taking part in abortion for reasons of conscience. If abortion is a “fundamental right”, according to FOCA, then every hospital must provide it.

The net result, as one writer noted, is “President Obama and his congressional supermajority would force every Christian hospital, doctor or nurse to abandon their faith or go out of business.” Under FOCA, believing Christians could be banned from the hospital industry (and apostolate) by federal law.

John Vennari is editor of the monthly Catholic Family News. He can be reached at cfnjjv@gmail.com.

CFN Addendum to Bulletin article:

This aspect of Obama’s candidacy has been eclipsed by endless talk about the economy.

It is tragic that our own Catholic clergy have not effectively warned the people under their charge of this danger. This could be remedied if every priest in every diocese in the country would inform their congregations this Sunday of the grave threat to the lives of the unborn, and to the continuance of Catholic hospitals, that an Obama presidency poses.

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