The day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the federal ban on partial-birth abortions, liberal Democrats in Congress reintroduced the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).

FOCA would eliminate all state and federal abortion laws. The federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act just upheld by the Court would be nullified. States that require parental consent or notification before a minor daughter can get an abortion would find those laws negated. FOCA would run roughshod over all of the protective legislation enacted by Congress and state legislatures.

According to a National Right to Life Committee Legislative Alert:

The bill flatly invalidates any “statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action” of any federal, state, or local government or governmental official (or any person acting under government authority) 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.” This no-restriction policy would establish, in Senator Boxer’s words, “the absolute right to choose” prior to fetal “viability.” The no-restriction policy would also apply after “viability” to any abortion sought on grounds of “health.” The bill does not define “health,” but in past abortion cases the Supreme Court has sometimes used the term to apply to any physical or emotional consideration whatsoever, including “distress.” The bill also prohibits enactment of objective criteria for “viability” that would be binding on abortionists.

Because the Supreme Court has defined “health” so broadly (from a legal perspective), there could be virtually no restriction to abortion, even after viability, if FOCA were enacted. If Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton seemed sweeping, FOCA goes far beyond—it is an all-encompassing attempt to broaden abortion on demand and to quash any attempts to protect women and their unborn children.

Laura Echevarria ( )

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