The "Freedom for Partial-Birth Abortionists Act": Pro-Abortion Lawmakers Propose "FOCA" to Invalidate All Limits on Abortion.WASHINGTON (April 25, 2007)In response to the April 18 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (Public Law 108-105, HR 760, S 3, 18 U.S. Code 1531) (or "PBA Ban") is a United States law prohibiting a form of late-term abortion that the Act calls partial-birth abortion. The U.S. , prominent Democratic members of Congress the next day reintroduced the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA (Font Object Content Architecture) See MO:DCA. ), a proposed federal law to nullify nul·li·fy
tr.v. nul·li·fied, nul·li·fy·ing, nul·li·fies
1. To make null; invalidate.
2. To counteract the force or effectiveness of. virtually all federal and state limitations on abortion.
NRLC NRLC National Right to Life Committee (since 1973; Washington, DC)
NRLC National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property Legislative Director Douglas Johnson Douglas Johnson (1925-2005), a British historian, was born in Edinburgh in 1925. He attended the Royal Grammar School, Lancaster, and then Worcester College, Oxford, on a history scholarship. commented, "In the interests of truth in advertising, the bill should be renamed the 'Freedom for Partial-Birth Abortionists Act.'"
The House bill, H.R. 1964, was introduced by Congressman Jerrold Nadler Jerrold Lewis Nadler, sometimes called Jerry Nadler (born June 13, 1947) is an American politician from New York City. A liberal Democrat, Nadler represents New York's 8th congressional district, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City. (D-NY), who in the new Democratic-majority Congress is the chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee that has jurisdiction over such legislation. At NRL Noun 1. NRL - the United States Navy's defense laboratory that conducts basic and applied research for the Navy in a variety of scientific and technical disciplines
Naval Research Laboratory News deadline on April 25, his bill had 71 cosponsors (70 Democrats, one Republican).
The Senate bill, S. 1173, introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer Barbara Levy Boxer (born November 11, 1940) is an American politician and the current junior U.S. Senator from the State of California.
A member of the Democratic Party, Boxer was first elected to the U.S. (D-Ca.), had 13 Democratic cosponsors, including presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY), plus independent Joseph Lieberman (Ct.).
The lawmakers proposing the legislation, and groups endorsing it, repeatedly emphasized that the bill would, among other things, completely nullify the national ban on partial-birth abortion partial-birth abortion
A late-term abortion, especially one in which a viable fetus is partially delivered through the cervix before being extracted. Not in technical use. that the Supreme Court upheld on April 18.
Congressman Nadler issued a statement harshly attacking the Supreme Court ruling.
"Overturning a decision only a few years old, the Court has, for the first time since Roe v. Wade Roe v. Wade, case decided in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Along with Doe v. Bolton, this decision legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. , allowed an abortion procedure to be criminalized," Nadler said. The FOCA, he noted, "would bar governmentat any levelfrom interfering with a woman's fundamental right to choose to bear a child, or to terminate a pregnancy."
Kim Gandy Kim Gandy (born January 25, 1954) is an American feminist and the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
Gandy was born in Bossier City, Louisiana, to Alfred Kenneth Gandy and the late Roma R. Gandy (1927-1998), a native of Pennsylvania. , president of the National Organization for Women, also tied the FOCA directly to the Supreme Court ruling, explaining in an e-mailed alert that the bill "would legislatively reverse the Court's damaging decision and will enshrine en·shrine also in·shrine
tr.v. en·shrined, en·shrin·ing, en·shrines
1. To enclose in or as if in a shrine.
2. To cherish as sacred. in federal law our right to safe, legal abortion... . Our ultimate success depends on electing a president who will sign the legislation and electing a Congress that can withstand any challenge or filibuster filibuster, term used to designate obstructionist tactics in legislative assemblies. It has particular reference to the U.S. Senate, where the tradition of unlimited debate is very strong. It was not until 1917 that the Senate provided for cloture (i.e. ."
"Those promoting this bill intend to use it as a litmus test litmus test
A test for chemical acidity or basicity using litmus paper. for those who seek congressional office, or the White House, and as a fundraising tool," NRLC's Douglas Johnson explained. "They know they cannot enact anything like this, so long as a pro-life president is in the White House."
Not Only a "Codification The collection and systematic arrangement, usually by subject, of the laws of a state or country, or the statutory provisions, rules, and regulations that govern a specific area or subject of law or practice. of Roe"
The promoters of the FOCA sometimes claim that its purpose is to "codify codify to arrange and label a system of laws. Roe v. Wade," the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand. But the key binding provisions of the bill would go further than Roe, invalidating in·val·i·date
tr.v. in·val·i·dat·ed, in·val·i·dat·ing, in·val·i·dates
To make invalid; nullify.
in·val all of the major types of pro-life laws that have been upheld by the Supreme Court in the decades since Roe.
"The claim that the bill would 'codify Roe' is just a marketing gimmick by the proponents," explained Johnson. "The sponsors hope that journalists and legislators will lazily accept that vague shorthand phrasebut it is very misleading. The references to Roe in the bill are in non-binding, discursive clauses. The heart of the bill is a ban that would nullify all of the major types of pro-life laws that the Supreme Court has said are permissible under Roe v. Wade, including the ban on partial-birth abortions and bans on government funding of abortion."
The bill flatly invalidates any "statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order An order covering traffic, supplies, maintenance, evacuation, personnel, and other administrative details. , 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 some past abortion cases the Supreme Court has sometimes used the term to apply to any physical or emotional consideration whatsoever, including "distress."
The term "viability" is usually understood to refer to the point at which a baby's lungs are developed to the point that he or she can in fact survive independently of the mothercurrently, about 23 or 24 weeks. However, the bill contains no objective criteria for "viability," but rather, requires that the judgment regarding "viability" be left entirely in the hands of "the attending physician"which is to say, the abortionist abortionist /abor·tion·ist/ (ah-bor´shun-ist) one who performs abortions. .
The bill also prohibits any government actions that would "deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose to bear a child," but supporters of the bills have not cited any actual laws that would be invalidated by that provision.
Effects Admitted by Supporters
In a factsheet posted on its website, the Planned Parenthood Planned Parenthood
A service mark used for an organization that provides family planning services. Federation of America (PPFA PPFA Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (since 1916; New York City, NY, USA)
PPFA Professional Picture Framers Association
PPFA Page Printer Formatting Aid (IBM) ) explains, "FOCA will supercede Verb 1. supercede - take the place or move into the position of; "Smith replaced Miller as CEO after Miller left"; "the computer has supplanted the slide rule"; "Mary replaced Susan as the team's captain and the highest-ranked player in the school" anti-choice laws that restrict the right to choose, including laws that prohibit the public funding Public funding is money given from tax revenue or other governmental sources to an individual, organization, or entity. See also
In addition, PPFA explained, "Parental consent Parental consent laws (also known as parental involvement or parental notification laws) in some countries require that one or more parents consent to or be notified before their minor child can legally engage in certain activities. or notification statutes have been used as a tool to deny access to abortion services for minors. When such laws deny or interfere with the ability of minors to access abortion services, they would violate FOCA."
(About half of the states have parental notification or consent laws in effect, which the Supreme Court has said are permitted under Roe v. Wade as long as they meet certain requirements, including availability of judges to authorize abortions without parental notification or consent.)
In a press release issued when she introduced the FOCA in 2004, Senator Boxer gave a number of examples of current laws that would be invalidated by the bill, including:
* Laws restricting government funding of abortion. (The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of most abortions, and many states have similar laws. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that these laws do not violate Roe v. Wade.)
* Laws prohibiting abortions in public hospitals. (The Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that such policies do not violate Roe v. Wade.)
* Laws requiring that girls and women seeking abortion receive certain information on matters such as fetal development and alternatives to abortion, and then wait a specified period before the abortion is actually performed, usually 24 or 48 hours. In her press release, Boxer referred to these as "antichoice propaganda lectures." (The Supreme Court said in its 1992 Casey ruling that such regulations are constitutional as long as they do not impose an "undue burden" on obtaining an abortion.)
NRLC's Johnson said that a number of other types of laws also would clearly be invalidated by the bill:
* All laws allowing doctors, nurses, or other state-licensed professionals, and hospitals or other health-care providers, to decline to provide or pay for abortions. (Such "conscience rights" with respect to abortion are generally protected by certain federal laws, and by the laws in many states. Supporters of the laws usually call them "conscience laws," but pro-abortion groups refer to them as "refusal clauses.")
* All laws prohibiting medical personnel other than licensed physicians from performing abortions would be invalid because they may "interfere with" access to abortion. (All but a handful of states currently enforce such "doctor-only" laws, which are specifically authorized in Roe v. Wade itself.)
* The provision of the FOCA that prohibits any government agency or official from taking any action that would "discriminate against the exercise of" FOCA-created legal rights, with respect to any "benefits, facilities, services, or information," would leave government officials open to lawsuits for anything that anybody thought "discriminate(s)" against abortion. Johnson observed, "This sweeping mandate could cover everything from rural health clinics, to health education programs in public schoolsand even to pro-life speeches by public officials."
History of the FOCA
An earlier version of the FOCA was pushed by pro-abortion forces beginning in the late 1980s, when they feared that the Supreme Court was preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade. When President Clinton, a FOCA supporter, took office in January 1993, Planned Parenthood predicted that the FOCA would be law within six months. But the bill died after an education and lobbying campaign, led by NRLC, persuaded many pro-Roe lawmakers that the bill went beyond Roe and would strike down many state laws that had broad support.
Johnson noted that during the debates over the FOCA in the early 1990s, many proponents of the bill often tried to deny some of its more radical effectseffects that they have already admitted with respect to the new bill, such as the invalidation of all restrictions on government funding of abortion.
The original FOCA faded from view after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in the 1994 election.
You can read or download the "Freedom of Choice Act" on the NRLC website at www.nrlc.org, under "Legislation: 'Freedom of Choice Act.'"
You can view an always-current list of cosponsors of the bills (S. 1173, H.R. 1964) on the NRLC website at the "Legislative Action Center," under "Issues and Legislation."
Take Action Now*
* Send an e-mail to your two U.S. senators and to your U.S. House member, urging them to oppose the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" (S. 1173, H.R. 1964), by going to the NRLC website Legislative Action Center and clicking on the prominent alert on the "Freedom of Choice Act." For most congressional offices, the Legislative Action Center also provides a fax number that you can use to fax a letter opposing the bill.
* Send a short letter for publication in your local newspaper, explaining the radical nature of the "Freedom of Choice Act," including the fact that its sponsors proclaim that it would nullify the ban on partial-birth abortions, and would require government funding of abortion on demand.