FOCA by Other Means

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the proposed health care legislation favored by the Obama administration:

On July 17, 2007, President Obama told his pro-abortion fans at Planned Parenthood that “the first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).” Two years later, FOCA has yet to be reintroduced. But there are no signs that Planned Parenthood is disappointed, and that’s because Obama is delivering FOCA by stealth.

The principal reason why FOCA was not reintroduced was due to opposition from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Under the tutelage of Francis Cardinal George, head of the USCCB, and Justin Cardinal Rigali, head of the pro-life committee of the USCCB, the bishops made it clear that they would fight tooth and nail any attempt to get FOCA signed into law. Obama got the word, as did the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Jerry Nadler and Sen. Barbara Boxer. But that didn’t derail the pro-abortion forces from trying some back door maneuvering.

The USCCB believes, as does the Obama administration, that health care is a human right. The health care bills that have been served up by supporters of Obama, however, have provisions that mirror the most draconian elements found in FOCA. To be specific, in the past week, an amendment by Sen. Mike Enzi explicitly denying abortion coverage was defeated. When Sen. Orrin Hatch asked Sen. Barbara Mikulski if she would clarify her amendment so that abortion services would not be mandated, she said no; the amendment passed.

In other words, stealth politics is at work. No, FOCA is not on the table, but central provisions of it have made their way into the health care reform bills. What is most disturbing about all of this is that the public is being hoodwinked: most have no idea of the games that are being played. All the more reason why a national discussion on this issue needs to begin immediately.

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  • Joe DeVet

    By casting health care as an unqualified “right”, the Bishops may find, too late, that they have been working at cross purposes with themselves. FOCA will come in through the back door, as outlined in this article, and other perversions will follow as well.

    For if health care is a human right, the implication is that the government can ensure that right by simple government action, as in other rights. The logical upshot of this is that the Bishops’ lobbying for health care as an unmitigated right amounts in practice to lobbying for socialized medicine.

    Once we get it, they’ll be sorry.

    The reason is that health care is more than a simple human right. It is also an economic good, or one might say an economic service. Justice (also part of Church teaching) requires that those providing economic goods and services are compensated for their efforts. Those who sacrifice time, talent and treasure for the purpose of serving others, deserve as a matter of justice to be compensated. Justice to them, because health care is an economic entity, tends to be shortchanged by applying simple civil rights rhetoric to health care.

    Again, what results from this unbalanced lobbying for health care as a right is the idea that socialized medicine is required as a matter of moral mandate.

    And so the Bishops are lobbying for a system which will, perhaps, make health care more accessible (even this is questionable.) At the same time it will ensure added corruption, political manipulation, and lower quality health care for all. The US will cease to be the engine of innovation in health care, and the incentives to give excellent care will no longer be in place.

    And one more thing–it will usher in the next huge life issue, which I do not believe our Church is ready to deal with. The economic realities of socialized medicine will result in government-mandated, or at least government-encouraged euthanasia. I turn 65 this year. Within 10 years it will be my civic duty to “check out.” If I don’t do it to myself, someone else will be empowered to do it to me, either directly or indirectly.

    Sound preposterous? We can clearly see the early signs of this. Witness long waiting lines for essential care in Canada. Witness overt euthanasia in Netherlands hospitals. Witness the laws on suicide in Oregon, Washington, and proposed elsewhere.

    All this, in part, because the Bishops push health care as an unqualified civil right, without attending to the economic and political realities of the case.

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