Barack Obama emphatically promised more than a year ago, "The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." Will he keep his word?
The Freedom of Choice Act is a sweeping bill that would abolish all pro-life regulations across the nation, from parental notification laws to bans on federal funding of abortions. The Office of the General Counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops identified 13 categories of pro-life laws that would be stampeded and nullified by FOCA. As far-reaching as the decision of Roe v. Wade is into the states’ jurisdictions and our lives, even it, for example, showed certain respect for state laws and limits on infringing regulations in the medical field. FOCA shows no such restraints; it nails shut the coffin on pro-life choices and safeguards.
And why has Obama pledged his allegiance to pass FOCA? Not only because he has the most passionately liberal pro-choice record of nearly any politician but also because, as he told a meeting of Planned Parenthood during his campaign, "it is time to turn the page" to a new day, when pro-life views and laws and debate on abortion are passé. And if he and the Democratic majority have their way, America will have that new day, one in which hundreds of thousands more abortions will be performed annually. (I still think it is utterly hypocritical that a president and a political party who pride themselves on providing and protecting minorities don’t include the unborn among those minorities.)
The fight to pass FOCA is being waged despite a new nationwide survey revealing that about 4 in 5 U.S. adults would limit abortion’s legality. About 1 in 3 would limit abortion to rape, incest or saving a mother’s life. One-third also would limit abortion to either the first three months of pregnancy or the first six months. Only 9 percent said abortion should be legal for any reason at any time during pregnancy. These statistics are in stark contrast to the goals and objectives of FOCA, which would close the culture debate on abortion in an unprecedented way for any piece of legislation.
America doesn’t need to "turn the page" on culture battles, such as abortion; it needs to reopen the pages of its history to our Founders’ heightened views about the rights of all human beings in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. And we need to revive and re-instill that value of humanity back into society, our children and our children’s children.
Under our Constitution, the federal government should protect that right to life. But besides affirming that foundational human right, the details and debates of the laws governing abortion should be left to the states. Despite the Supreme Court’s unconstitutional striking down of abortion laws nationwide in 1973 and instituting a completely unconstitutional federal right to abortion, there is still much we can do at the state level to protect human life by promoting pro-life legislation and education. That is, unless FOCA is enacted into law.
After 35 years of ceaseless controversy since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, some people think that abortion is an "old" issue better dropped. But as my friend and prolific author Randy Alcorn wrote in his small book "Why Pro-Life? Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers": "Abortion has set us on a dangerous course. We may come to our senses and back away from the slippery slope. Or we may follow it to its inescapable conclusion — a society in which the powerful, for their self-interest, determine which human beings will live and which will die."
Abortion is not about a woman’s "right to choose"; it is about a more fundamental "right to life," which is one of three specifically identified unalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence (and the Constitution, through Article VII and the Bill of Rights). And it is a violation of government’s primary purpose: to protect innocent life.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1809, "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government." He was not, of course, writing about the America of today, with state-sanctioned and even subsidized abortion and a movement to promote the killing of the elderly through euthanasia. But he could have been. And his belief in what should be "the first and only legitimate object of government" still should stand, and that includes for the president of the United States of America. But if he and his administration won’t protect the rights of the living (even in the womb), then who will? Pelosi? Reid? A left-leaning Congress?
All of our elected officials should uphold that pre-eminent objective of government and strive to get us back to the view of humanity that emphasizes the immortal worth of every human being. Without that, we never can believe that all people (including those in the womb) are created equal, that they have inherent, unalienable rights and that the protection of those rights is "the first and only legitimate object of good government."
And if our politicians won’t protect unborn human life, then we must. With Sanctity of Life Sunday on Jan. 18, Obama’s inauguration Jan. 20, the annual March for Life pro-life rally in Washington, D.C., Jan. 22 (the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision), and FOCA looming on the legislative precipice of Congress and the White House, now is the time to march and take action again to defend the unborn. (That’s why I devoted an entire chapter to "Reclaim the value of human life" in my new cultural manifesto, "Black Belt Patriotism," and why my wife, Gena, passionately entreated for the unborn in our most recent interview, which you can watch online on GodTube.)
Please, before FOCA flies onto the congressional floor in the upcoming days, sign the online petition to fight FOCA (www.fightfoca.com), and then contact your representatives and senators to tell them how you expect them to vote on the bill. You can write to them online by simply going to www.capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/bills/?bill=9668701 and entering your ZIP code.
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