Does FOCA mean an end to Catholic health care?

posted at 11:23 am on November 25, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Melinda Henneberger looks at the threat the Freedom of Choice Act poses to Catholic health-care centers that want no part of abortion, and concludes that the legislation would probably strip them of their opt-out for conscience.  Henneberger believes that the bishops mean exactly what they say when warning that they will close the doors on every facility rather than be forced to perform abortions — and wonders how the Obama administration plans to replace a third of all hospitals in the nation? (via The Corner):

And the most ludicrous line out of them, surely, was about how, under Obama, Catholic hospitals that provide obstetric and gynecological services might soon be forced to perform abortions or close their doors. Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago warned of “devastating consequences” to the health care system, insisting Obama could force the closure of all Catholic hospitals in the country. That’s a third of all hospitals, providing care in many neighborhoods that are not exactly otherwise overprovided for. It couldn’t happen, could it?

You wouldn’t think so. Only, I am increasingly convinced that it could. If the Freedom of Choice Act passes Congress, and that’s a big if, Obama has promised to sign it the second it hits his desk. (Here he is at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund event in 2007, vowing, “The first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do.”) Though it’s often referred to as a mere codification of Roe, FOCA, as currently drafted, actually goes well beyond that: According to the Senate sponsor of the bill, Barbara Boxer, in a statement on her Web site, FOCA would nullify all existing laws and regulations that limit abortion in any way, up to the time of fetal viability. Laws requiring parental notification and informed consent would be tossed out. While there is strenuous debate among legal experts on the matter, many believe the act would invalidate the freedom-of-conscience laws on the books in 46 states. These are the laws that allow Catholic hospitals and health providers that receive public funds through Medicaid and Medicare to opt out of performing abortions. Without public funds, these health centers couldn’t stay open; if forced to do abortions, they would sooner close their doors. Even the prospect of selling the institutions to other providers wouldn’t be an option, the bishops have said, because that would constitute “material cooperation with an intrinsic evil.”

The bishops are not bluffing when they say they’d turn out the lights rather than comply. Nor is Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hermann of St. Louis exaggerating, I don’t think, in vowing that “any one of us would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow—to die tomorrow—to bring about the end of abortion.”

Whatever your view on the legality and morality of abortion, there is another important question to be considered here: Could we even begin to reform our already overburdened health care system without these Catholic institutions? I don’t see how.

As Henneberger notes, these facilities aren’t in overserved areas, either.  Catholic facilities tend to be in places other for-profit clinics and hospitals avoid.  The sudden disappearance of these clinics and hospitals would leave millions of people with much fewer choices in medical attention, or none at all.

Would Congress pass FOCA?  If the Republicans hold onto their seats in Minnesota and Georgia, they’ll have enough Senators to filibuster it, but Henneberger wonders if Obama would have enough votes to pass the bill on straight majorities.  Once the bill’s sweeping nature becomes known, she believes that only the hard-Left Representatives and Senators would back the bill, leaving FOCA to die quietly as it has in every session of Congress for the last 15 years it’s been proposed.

Obama pledged to make FOCA his highest priority, though, and his appointment of Emily’s List spokesperson Ellen Moran as his communications director sent a message that he intends to pursue it.  Henneberger believes that any attempt to force FOCA through Congress will “reignite the culture war he so deftly sidestepped throughout this campaign,” as well as make fools out of pro-Obama Catholics like Douglas Kmiec.  I don’t see Obama backing away from his pledge to make Planned Parenthood’s dreams come true, and I hope that Henneberger’s correct about Congress stopping those plans.


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Is the freedom of choice act really a top priority of the incoming administration. I mean, given all the backpedalling we’ve seen on policy statements and cabinet appointments…it seems a case could be made for too much chicken little rhetoric on issues like this and the fairness doctrine.

ernesto on November 25, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Henneberger believes that any attempt to force FOCA through Congress will “reignite the culture war he so deftly sidestepped throughout this campaign,” as well as make fools out of pro-Obama Catholics like Douglas Kmiec.

“Pro-Obama Catholics” have already made fools of themselves with no assistance from anyone.

BKennedy on November 25, 2008 at 11:26 AM

Along with the closure threat, should be any Catholic Senator or Congressman who voted for the bill should be ex-communicated.
Two-fold, first for supporting abortion, and second for forcing the hospitals to close, the hospitals created to serve the people most in need.
This threat is real, I don’t see how the hospitals could stay open…the secular world would begin to see how much they depend on the faithful as they go about the day drinking from the trough the faithful have given to them.

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:29 AM

No problem. Obama will just nationalize the hospitals and make then them the starter kit for his socialized medical system. What could be better than jump starting another %##$#$@ socialist program with one third of all the hospitals in the country?

johnsteele on November 25, 2008 at 11:30 AM

Didn’t we already have this post? Here we go again…

Abby Adams on November 25, 2008 at 11:31 AM

Obama may be counting on the mass closure of Catholic hospitals. The resulting shambles can be used as justification for providing universal health care for all the suddenly vulnerable underprivileged.

aengus on November 25, 2008 at 11:33 AM

He won’t do. He was lying to Planned Parenthood. His commitment to them is as solid as his commitment to public funding. All lip service. In the end, he will blink and say, “Wahhh, I tried.” He doesn’t want to be known as the Pres. who destroyed our healthcare system.

JAM on November 25, 2008 at 11:33 AM

I hope if the FOCA act is as bad as I am afraid it will be that Catholic hospitals do close. I hope all the Bishops grow some spines and say enough is enough and just do it.

As for excommunication…..back in the day the Bishop of New Orleans excommunicated that nasty old racist Leander Perez for opposing desegregation. He was a hero to the libs, as well he should be. But to excommunicate a politician for saying abortion is just fine and dandy….horrors!

Ellen on November 25, 2008 at 11:34 AM

Primum non nocere. It’s not just Catholicism, it’s Hippocrates.

Tzetzes on November 25, 2008 at 11:34 AM

I know as a Christian, I’m not suppose to judge people. But I find it very difficult to have a person claim to be a Christian and then say that abortions at any point in a pregnancy is acceptable. Our President-elect “seems” to have no problem in doing this.

ny59giants on November 25, 2008 at 11:35 AM

If ever there was a reason to stand up and fight, this is it. I will protest. I will march on DC. I will flood my representatives and senators with letters and phone calls. I will refuse to pay taxes that go to fund any abortion. No FOCA. I can not bear it.

LEBA on November 25, 2008 at 11:36 AM

Is the freedom of choice act really a top priority of the incoming administration….
ernesto on November 25, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Here

Here

This answers the question of his priorities…he will sign it.
The trick is, will the dems keep it off the books so he doesn’t commit political suicide?

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:37 AM

this is not a freedom of choice act, rather a freedom FROM choice act…its like 1984 newspeak.

I hope the catholics close the hospitals. let the left eat cake, or kill babies, on their own.

right4life on November 25, 2008 at 11:38 AM

The bishops are not bluffing when they say they’d turn out the lights rather than comply.

Good. Every single private business needs to be prepared to resist tyranny in this way.

RushBaby on November 25, 2008 at 11:38 AM

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:37 AM

You missed my point…my point was given all the backtracking we’ve heard from him lately…do you really expect him to act on that promise…when he has backed down from so many already?

ernesto on November 25, 2008 at 11:39 AM

I know as a Christian, I’m not suppose to judge people.
ny59giants on November 25, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Please, put that secular talking point to bed…of course you are to judge, how do you choose a babysitter, an employee, a spouse?
And you are required to judge leaders more harshly…
If you need the passages just ask…

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:39 AM

You missed my point…
ernesto on November 25, 2008 at 11:39 AM

No, I didn’t miss your point, read my last sentence.

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:41 AM

It’s time for the Catholic Church to step up (as some brave souls have already) and begin disciplining Catholic legislators who do not fight against abominations like this.

I would greatly respect the Church if they shut down their hospitals after this law was passed, but I would respect them infinitely more if they kept it from becoming law in the first place.

If this law does get passed, without Biden doing everything in his power to stop it, he needs to be excommunicated.

29Victor on November 25, 2008 at 11:41 AM

This once great nation is quickly turning into a big pile of rancid excrement. Thank you enlightened voters; I hope you know what you have wrought.

rplat on November 25, 2008 at 11:41 AM

this is not a freedom of choice act, rather a freedom FROM choice act…its like 1984 newspeak.

right4life on November 25, 2008 at 11:38 AM

Precisely. Freedom FROM Choice Act.

LEBA on November 25, 2008 at 11:41 AM

Please, put that secular talking point to bed…of course you are to judge, how do you choose a babysitter, an employee, a spouse?
And you are required to judge leaders more harshly…
If you need the passages just ask…

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Right on!

This “do not judge” crap is a nonsensical cop out.

rplat on November 25, 2008 at 11:43 AM

By what constitutional authority does nitwit Babs Boxer propose to do this ? One of intents the constitution was to keep asinine ideas of a single jurisdiction from being codified on a national level. The shredding of the constitution by the Dems has left those of us in the sane part of the country (I’m in KY) at the mercy of jackasses from Cali,Mass,NY et al. Catholics should also threaten to have their kids sign up for public school. Time to play hard ball. And anyway, just how do the sodomites in Bab’s constituancy get pregnant ?

FredCDobbs on November 25, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Wouldn’t you think that the hospitals could just eliminate OB/GYN care and continue to meet other medical needs?

I doubt that Obama could nationalize the Catholic hospitals and without the Catholic doctors and nurses they couldn’t be staffed to provide enough services.

katiejane on November 25, 2008 at 11:44 AM

I know as a Christian, I’m not suppose(d) (sic) to judge people.
ny59giants on November 25, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Apart from “right2bright’s” comments, which I agree with, there is a further point. Even if you don’t want to judge people, you are well within your rights to judge behaviour.

Blaise on November 25, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Ellen on November 25, 2008 at 11:34 AM

I am with you 100%

I will be so overjoyed if the bishops actually go through with what they said if FOCA passes.
Let’s see the Church up the ante with ex-communicating priests who knowingly serve communion to pro-abortion candidates and parishioners as well as abolishing parishioners who vote for pro-abortion candidates.
A person who votes for a candidate that supports abortion is also performing the abortion.

jencab on November 25, 2008 at 11:46 AM

These are the people who will have an abortion in the morning, and then go to the local prison that evening to hold a candlelight vigil to protest the execution of a man filmed killing 14 people because “He can be rehabilitated”.

They don’t see the contradiction, and you’ll never be able to make them. They don’t believe the bishops will close the hospitals. They don’t understand morality.

Kowboy on November 25, 2008 at 11:46 AM

This is political checkmate by the Catholic Church if BO wants to pursue FOCA…I only hope the bishops remain steadfast in their position…

hooligan on November 25, 2008 at 11:46 AM

Along with the closure threat, should be any Catholic Senator or Congressman who voted for the bill should be ex-communicated.

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:29 AM

HEAR! HEAR!

cryptojunkie on November 25, 2008 at 11:46 AM

“Pro-Obama Catholics” should be an oxymoron–how can any principled and God-fearing Catholic EVER vote for Obama?

The problem is, in blue-state Kool-Aid land, priests and bishops have lost sight of the abortion holocaust that kills a MILLION Americans each year, and whine endlessly about the war in Iraq that killed 4,000 Americans in five years (never mind the countless lives SAVED because Saddam is gone), and go on and on about how those “generous” Democrats (the same ones that made Fannie and Freddie go bust, that we all have to bail out) give so much to the poor.

I listen to this drivel every Sunday, and sometimes it’s enough to make me gag, but that’s why there are pro-Obama Catholics–duped by their priests. I also found out that the Archbishop of Hartford gave money to ACORN. Next time the Annual Appeal envelope comes my way, I’ll sent it back with nothing inside but an oak nut. You reap what you sow!

Steve Z on November 25, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Steve Z on November 25, 2008 at 11:47 AM

easy…not everyone is a single issue voter.

ernesto on November 25, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Someone who went to church supposedly every week surely had heard this quote and song refrain.

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:50 AM

I think the Abortion Industry was probably one of Obama’s biggest backers and supporters so they will be the ones who benefit from Obama policy. That is how paying back Political Favors works. Remember Bill Clinton’s first act as President, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. It made little sense to come out with that policy, out of the Gate, unless he was paying back a Political Favor. Odd that the Gay community actually derides, Don’t ask Don’t tell policy…so who wanted the policy in the first place?

The Death Cult is going to be among the few that will prosper under an Obama Administration. If I were Obama, I would be looking at the Bigger Picture, how History is Going to remember him. The Greater American Population wants less Abortions, and more Restrictions on Partial Birth ect..the backlash of an Obama preference for the Death Cult, is not going to be pretty. This is Social-Cultural, not broken down along racial lines. Take a look at blackgeneocide.org

Many think that Abortion is playing God with human life…that is above Barack H Obama’s pay grade..Messiah status not withstanding.

Dr Evil on November 25, 2008 at 11:50 AM

easy…not everyone is a single issue voter.

ernesto on November 25, 2008 at 11:48 AM

If you buy the bushel of apples with the rotten ones at the bottom, you buy the rotten apples.

LEBA on November 25, 2008 at 11:51 AM

Didn’t we already have this post? Here we go again…
Abby Adams on November 25, 2008 at 11:31 AM

Yep, again someone is trying to warn the bulk of low income people with medical needs there is a good chance they will not have doctors or nurses to see soon. Me personally, for my own reasons could care less if the RCC fell off the planet. I pray that should the Freedom of Choice Act become law that the Bishops pull the plug on everything they do for the poor in the U.S. Wonder if other religious hospitals will do the same? You think the bailout of $700 billion effects people? Try removing hospitals, clinics and doctors that handle indigent care for one week. See how quickly the law is repealed.

and a quick side note… since I saw pretty much the same tone on a thread accusing Ed of being a Catholic apologist the other night… ROFLMAO. You haven’t met a Catholic apologist I can tell. Nope, Ed ain’t one. If all Catholics began voting according to RCC teaching and Bishops removed the priests who taught against these teachings… there would be a voting block.

brianpierre on November 25, 2008 at 11:51 AM

“Pro-Obama Catholics” have already made fools of themselves with no assistance from anyone.

BKennedy on November 25, 2008 at 11:26 AM

It isn’t just catholics. Plenty of my protestant friends would not listen to me about FOCA prior to the election. They said that continuing to fight abortion legislatively was a losing battle. I said, “Right, it’s a two-fold battle, not just legislative or judicial.” But, regardless, they were enamored by Hopenchange.

Mommypundit on November 25, 2008 at 11:53 AM

The sudden disappearance of these clinics and hospitals would leave millions of people with much fewer choices in medical attention, or none at all.

Not to mention many people unemployed.

Bob's Kid on November 25, 2008 at 11:53 AM

I doubt that Obama could nationalize the Catholic hospitals

katiejane on November 25, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Not as long as I breath and the Second Amendment exists

Onager on November 25, 2008 at 11:54 AM

easy…not everyone is a single issue voter.

ernesto on November 25, 2008 at 11:48 AM

This is not a single issue, this is an issue concerning tens and thousands of issues…tens of thousands of human lives. A cornerstone of Catholicism from the beginning of time.
The early Christian church is the one that brought in the abandoned children from prostitutes, the pagan’s would let the children die.
From the beginning of the church, protecting children has been the honor of Christian church’s, and the abandonment and killing of “unwanted” children is the bane of the pagan’s and now the secularists.
That is like saying a serial killer should not be prosecuted fully because he has only one issue…

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:54 AM

No problem. Obama will just nationalize the hospitals and make then them the starter kit for his socialized medical system.

Johnsteele on November 25, 2008 at 11:30 AM

without the Catholic doctors and nurses they couldn’t be staffed to provide enough services.

katiejane on November 25, 2008 at 11:44 AM

I do see that FOCA could be used by Obama to create a crisis where the “only solution” would be to nationalize the closed Catholic run hospitals. It would be a piece of cake to claim that the hospitals are crucial and a government takeover is absolutely necessary (especially with a complicit media).

katiejame makes a good point too. But how many of those working in the hospital will not come back to work. That assumes they will hold to the values of the Catholic church. If so, they are the trump card. If not, we have government hospitals and a clear, easy path to nationalized “health care” (if you dare call it that).

batter on November 25, 2008 at 11:55 AM

as well as make fools out of pro-Obama Catholics

They, in their foolishness, could join every other American who voted for Obarfy.

Disaster is just a step away with this fud.

Bishop on November 25, 2008 at 11:59 AM

If not, we have government hospitals and a clear, easy path to nationalized “health care” (if you dare call it that).

batter on November 25, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Well, seeing as the buildings belong to the Catholic Church, pretty hard to “move in”.
The threat is strong and severe enough for the dems to back out…that way Obama won’t have a bill to sign, “oh darn” he will say with a sigh of relief as he lights up.

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Bring it on, Obama. Catholics need a dose of reality. However, I don’t think you have the balls to cash the check your lips have written. FOCA is just another broken promise dropped like a prom dress.

As for picking on, Captain Ed. Go back to posting on AP’s threads. I refuse to open them.

Ed is the best blogger on the face of this Earth.

Angry Dumbo on November 25, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Onager on November 25, 2008 at 11:54 AM

I don’t think an insurrection will begin over nationalized health care. It will be something else (I’m not going to elaborate). Plus that assumes people and hospital workers would care enough to get fired up.

The more likely scenario, IMO, is that the media will demonize the Catholic church (run the “they want the poor to die” spin) for their decision and turn most people against them and in support of government intervention to solve the (manufactured) crisis for the less fortunate.

Man, I think I just made an argument our local Eeyore (AP) would be proud of. Gulp.

batter on November 25, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Not as long as I breath and the Second Amendment exists
Onager on November 25, 2008 at 11:54 AM

You aren’t alone in that, millions of others are currently thinking along the same lines.

Bishop on November 25, 2008 at 12:01 PM

There was an abortion-rights spokeswoman on The O’Reilly Factor last night who informed Laura Ingraham, correctly, that current FOCA legislation allows for conscientious objection.

The hysteria surrounding FOCA is being cultivated mainly by liberal pro-abortion Democrat Catholics. They want to create the worst possible scenario now, so that later the American Catholic Church will be “relieved” and “grateful” that, even though abortions will increase by the hundreds of thousands, there will still be a way for Catholic institutions to avoid performing them. It will be a cause for celebration of all things Obama within the Democrat majority wing of the Catholic hierarchy.

Meanwhile, the American Catholic Church will turn its back on God’s unborn children, just as it has done for 35 years. Had the Church chosen to act against the mass murder, Roe v. Wade would already be a distant memory.

jay12 on November 25, 2008 at 12:02 PM

The bishops are not bluffing when they say they’d turn out the lights rather than comply.

I’ll stand with them.

Mr_Magoo on November 25, 2008 at 12:02 PM

There’s an interesting game of chicken getting set up here. IF FOCA passes, do the politicians have the backbone to push the issue once the Catholics pull out? I don’t think they do o but I can also see them using the crisis as an excuse for nationalizing huge swaths of medical care.

Exciting times we’re living in now that we’ve elected a terrorist sympathizing racist who sees nothing wrong in letting children die in hospital closets.

highhopes on November 25, 2008 at 12:03 PM

The threat is strong and severe enough for the dems to back out…

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 11:59 AM

I see your point, but with media (and possibly public and/or astroturf pressure), I can also see the dems getting spaghetti-spined. I guess it all would depend on how effective the MSM can generate pressure and how tough the blue dog dems actually prove to be.

batter on November 25, 2008 at 12:04 PM

The big-eared goblin has no problem with post partum killing of babies. No doubt he would have a problem with the post partum abortion of select politicians? Which is the greater evil? Who is the more innocent; the newborn who never had a chance to learn evil or the scum who does evil?

SKYFOX on November 25, 2008 at 12:05 PM

easy…not everyone is a(n) single issue voter athiest God-hating liberal.

ernesto on November 25, 2008 at 11:48 AM

hillbillyjim on November 25, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Meanwhile, the American Catholic Church will turn its back on God’s unborn children, just as it has done for 35 years. Had the Church chosen to act against the mass murder, Roe v. Wade would already be a distant memory.

jay12 on November 25, 2008 at 12:02 PM

You don’t know what you are talking about.

Abby Adams on November 25, 2008 at 12:07 PM

I may be wrong on this fact (which others will quickly correct), but the population in America would be on a decline since abortion became legal EXCEPT for immigrants.

Another question, has America aborted a “possible” doctor who finds the cure for cancer or some other horrible disease??

ny59giants on November 25, 2008 at 12:07 PM

In Pennsylvainia, the trial lawyers have caused the closure of hospital after hospital due to the lawsuits and cost of malpractice insurance.

If we lose our local catholic hospitals, I have no doubt that people will die.

Someone in an earlier post made a suggestion that this might be by design to force the Catholic hospitals to close thereby causing a health care crisis. As nutball emanuell said “It would be a shame to waste a crisis”

bullseye on November 25, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Well, seeing as the buildings belong to the Catholic Church, pretty hard to “move in”.

Eminent domain will solve the property problem but the staffing would more difficult.

thomasaur on November 25, 2008 at 12:09 PM

Interesting to see the Jewish perspective on this…they have a little different view then Christians.
Certainly they would be against partial birth abortions, but abortions as a whole is very debatable.
And there are more than just a couple of Jewish Hospitals.

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 12:09 PM

Obama may be counting on the mass closure of Catholic hospitals. The resulting shambles can be used as justification for providing universal health care for all the suddenly vulnerable underprivileged.

aengus on November 25, 2008 at 11:33 AM

Interesting premise.

It will be interesting to see what the Hope of the World will actually do now that voting “present” isn’t a viable option.

hillbillyjim on November 25, 2008 at 12:09 PM

I know as a Christian, I’m not suppose to judge people. But I find it very difficult to have a person claim to be a Christian and then say that abortions at any point in a pregnancy is acceptable. Our President-elect “seems” to have no problem in doing this.

ny59giants on November 25, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Obama said that to know when the point of coneption is “with any specificity” is beyond his pay-grade. He doesn’t want to know. Let’s him off the hook. Even though God has told us in the Bible what the answer is, Obama refuses to even look there. He picks and chooses his scripture to suit his needs. Many of us do that – but not on purpose for political reasons.

Mr_Magoo on November 25, 2008 at 12:10 PM

has America aborted a “possible” doctor who finds the cure for cancer or some other horrible disease??

ny59giants on November 25, 2008 at 12:07 PM

… or the 2008 Republican candidate that would have defeated Obama?

Mr_Magoo on November 25, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Kmiec will smooth it over if he is Ambassador to the Vatican.

At least America magazine thinks so…

Rocks on November 25, 2008 at 12:12 PM

… or the 2008 Republican candidate that would have defeated Obama?

Mr_Magoo on November 25, 2008 at 12:11 PM

True that if aborted in 1973 you could indeed be 35 by the time you reached office in 2008, but I doubt a 35 year old would have a good shot at President.

BKennedy on November 25, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Eminent domain will solve the property problem but the staffing would more difficult.
thomasaur on November 25, 2008 at 12:09 PM

Ever witness a “eminent domain” case against a church?…it ain’t pretty.

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Actually, this is very encouraging. Examples of citizens standing up to Obama and the libs are very important in fighting off the encroaching socialism in this country. We are going to need to do A LOT of this in the next four years.

Mallard T. Drake on November 25, 2008 at 12:15 PM

…make fools out of pro-Obama Catholics

As a pro-life Maronite Catholic, in my view, Catholics who voted for Obama are already fools.

Zorro on November 25, 2008 at 12:16 PM

ny59giants on November 25, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Abortion isn’t the cause of population decline, the choice of having smaller families is.
But you are correct, the increase in population in the U.S. is caused by immigration, illegal immigration being by far the largest impact.

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 12:18 PM

The bishops are not bluffing when they say they’d turn out the lights rather than comply.

I’ll stand with them.

Mr_Magoo on November 25, 2008 at 12:02 PM

Count me in Mr. Magoo.

Zorro on November 25, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Ever witness a “eminent domain” case against a church?…it ain’t pretty.

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 12:15 PM

That’s true and the Vatican has deep pockets.

thomasaur on November 25, 2008 at 12:19 PM

Obama will sign FOCA for sure. Wouln’t want anyone to be “punished” with a baby. We, real Catholics, will stand with the Bishops — no matter what the cost.

missouriyankee on November 25, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Kmiec will smooth it over if he is Ambassador to the Vatican.
At least America magazine thinks so…
Rocks on November 25, 2008 at 12:12 PM

Goodidea if you were still dealing with Pope John Paul or Pope John Paul II, but alas he would now be dealing with Pope Benedict XVI. Not the same men in any way shape or form.

brianpierre on November 25, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Catholic hospitals that provide obstetric and gynecological services might soon be forced to perform abortions or close their doors.

Assuming this language is correct then this story is significantly overblown. The hospitals would not need to close down, simply close down their obstetric and gynecological services. Presumably, planned parenthood would more than willingly jump at the opportunity to fill the gap.

Stephen L. Hall on November 25, 2008 at 12:23 PM

This is a no win issue for Obama. If that bill hits his desk, no matter what he does he pisses off a ton of people. I would love to see how this plays out. And FYI, I am a Catholic.

What can we do to get this bill to his desk?

AndrewsDad on November 25, 2008 at 12:28 PM

So lemme see here. . .

They force the Catholic Church to either perform abortion or close their doors.
So the Church closes shop. Ouchies heard throughout the land.
Feds SEIZE shuttered hospitals and use these as the platform to base their healthcare reform/socialized medicine.

I DO NOT LIKE!

Jason Coleman on November 25, 2008 at 12:28 PM

Nationalize the hospitals that have been funded by generations of Sunday offertory baskets? Can’t wait to see the RNC commercials about that. He wouldn’t dare.

Little Boomer on November 25, 2008 at 12:31 PM

Assuming this language is correct then this story is significantly overblown. The hospitals would not need to close down, simply close down their obstetric and gynecological services. Presumably, planned parenthood would more than willingly jump at the opportunity to fill the gap.

Stephen L. Hall on November 25, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Considering that some of the same people have forced pharmacists to provide the OTC morning-after-pill…

…I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to force all hospitals to HAVE OBGYN services.

Either way, the Catholic church has the right to use their facilities as a tool against a greater evil.

If the threat of the RCC closing all of its hospitals causes the FOFCA to fail, then they will have done all of us a great, great service.

Religious_Zealot on November 25, 2008 at 12:34 PM

My first thought is that this is likely a “false dilemma”, which may or may not be part of Obama’s plan. It would seem simple to tack on an amendment allowing doctors/hospitals to opt out on ‘moral’ grounds, but extend the FOCA bill otherwise, allowing massive increases in abortions with federal money, but allowing Obama to claim the ‘high ground’ of letting Catholic hospitals opt out. He gets his FOCA, abortions skyrocket, we pay for them, and Obama gets credit for letting the Catholic hospitals stay open.

EyeSurgeon on November 25, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Feds SEIZE shuttered hospitals and use these as the platform to base their healthcare reform/socialized medicine.

I DO NOT LIKE!

Jason Coleman on November 25, 2008 at 12:28 PM

Months of eminent domain hearings, courts, PR, it would be a nightmare…however, does anyone really see the Catholics walking away from the sick?

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Here is my letter to Lindsey Graham. Feel free to copy, change, etc.. and send to your senators and congressmen/women. I just sent this now:

Dear Mr. Graham,

I am adamantly against the Freedom of Choice Act, FOCA. I am aware that Mr. Obama has made it clear that he will sign this legislation if it should come to him as President. He has also stated emphatically that this is a high priority for the early days of his administration.

I support a senate filibuster against this legislation when it is proposed. I am counting on you to fight for us, for your state and ultimately, for the constitutional right to life for innocent Americans. Filibuster FOCA.

I love God. I am proLife and will not support / can not support legislation that removes from the states the right to legislate in the best interest of their own constituents. I can not support a federal law that denies doctors and hospitals the right to moral decent. I can not support a federal law that denies parents the right to be informed prior to a daughter’s abortion. That thought is just appalling.

I am against abortion but I realize it may be fruitless to fight this battle on moral or religious grounds. It must be fought on Constitutional grounds while at the same time, those of us in the ‘trenches’ of our culture work hard to reach out to and inform individuals so God can change their hearts.

Sincerely,
XXXX XXXXX

LEBA on November 25, 2008 at 12:34 PM

EyeSurgeon on November 25, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Do you really think Planned Parenthood would allow anyone to “opt” out.
They know hospitals would be forced, by public pressure, to “opt out”.
Planned Parenthood, is like Code Pink, PETA, and the other radical groups…they give up nothing, nothing.

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Here is my letter to Lindsey Graham…feel free to copy, edit, and send to your senators and congressmen/women:

Dear Mr. Graham,

I am adamantly against the Freedom of Choice Act, FOCA. I am aware that Mr. Obama has made it clear that he will sign this legislation if it should come to him as President. He has also stated emphatically that this is a high priority for the early days of his administration.

I support a senate filibuster against this legislation when it is proposed. I am counting on you to fight for us, for your state and ultimately, for the constitutional right to life for innocent Americans. Filibuster FOCA.

I love God. I am proLife and will not support / can not support legislation that removes from the states the right to legislate in the best interest of their own constituents. I can not support a federal law that denies doctors and hospitals the right to moral decent. I can not support a federal law that denies parents the right to be informed prior to a daughter’s abortion. That thought is just appalling.

I am against abortion but I realize it may be fruitless to fight this battle on moral or religious grounds. It must be fought on Constitutional grounds while at the same time, those of us in the ‘trenches’ of our culture work hard to reach out to and inform individuals so God can change their hearts.

Sincerely,
Lynn Adams

LEBA on November 25, 2008 at 12:38 PM

does anyone really see the Catholics walking away from the sick?

right2bright on November 25, 2008 at 12:34 PM

If the alternative is to be forced to perform abortions and risk excommunication? Yes.

Kowboy on November 25, 2008 at 12:38 PM

Oops. Sorry for the double post. Poo.

LEBA on November 25, 2008 at 12:40 PM

batter on November 25, 2008 at 12:01 PM

I’m right there with you. I was trying to think about what perspective my dad would put it into. I swear he’s dead on the mark with these things 98% of the time. As I read further down the comments you went right where I was going to head with it. Obama and the Dems will use their MSM lap dogs to vilify the church. And:

Eminent domain will solve the property problem but the staffing would more difficult.
thomasaur on November 25, 2008 at 12:09 PM

I don’t see staffing a problem. People will need jobs and will think of themselves and their families. They’ll fall lockstep in with the demands of the Dems/President and the public. Most people don’t want to stand up and fight. I see this attitude all around me anymore of don’t make waves, and I don’t want to get involved..

mauioriginal on November 25, 2008 at 12:41 PM

This is a hill that I, as well as many others, will die on. My brother-in-law is a physician, my 2 cousins are physicians, and my grandfather (before he passed) was a physician, and they will not and would not perform or participate in abortions and they would and are willing to lose their licenses to practice if they have to before they would perform or participate in an abortion.

The Catholic Church is not kidding. They will close their doors before being forced to participate in abortions. but that’s ok, because all the pro-choice liberals will contribute enough to serve these populations.

I guess pro-choice REALLY means the only choice is to perform abortions…those who do not wish to participate have to choose either to take part or not to practice medicine. Just wait until those student loans default…those are big ‘uns. too.

JustTruth101 on November 25, 2008 at 12:42 PM

Catholics or any serious practioner of christianity voting for Obama is one of the most unseemly things I’ve seen in a long time.

Dritanian on November 25, 2008 at 12:42 PM

How did Catholics justify voting for Barry, anyway?
It would seem that his history on the abortion issue would have precluded them. Was being Liberal more important that the faith they were raised in?

Evidently.

kingsjester on November 25, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Assuming this language is correct then this story is significantly overblown. The hospitals would not need to close down, simply close down their obstetric and gynecological services.

I guess I’m stuck on the bigger issue that a church-related organization shouldn’t be forced to choose between complying with state-sanctioned murder or curtailing services.

highhopes on November 25, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Wouldn’t you think that the hospitals could just eliminate OB/GYN care and continue to meet other medical needs?

katiejane on November 25, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Interesting thought.
One way or another, I believe Obama will realize how stupid he was to promise to sign this thing.
I’m thinking he won’t do it. He has no spine, no leadership, he’s only a tool.
He promised anything it took to get into office. Now he will deliver on nothing he promised.
Which I pray comes true.

Badger40 on November 25, 2008 at 12:49 PM

The local Catholic hospital in my city is the best in the area, and has a great reputation even outside of my state (NH). I went there when I sliced my thumb open trying to carve a pumpkin this past Halloween week. I would not want to go to the non-Catholic hospital given the same set of circumstances.

“The first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do.”

And we’ve all seen how deftly the Dear Leader has been keeping his campaign promises. This one doesn’t worry me so much.

Could we even begin to reform our already overburdened health care system without these Catholic institutions?

Sure. The sudden lack of hospitals would be a perfect excuse to begin the complete nationalization of the entire industry.

Henneberger believes that any attempt to force FOCA through Congress will “reignite the culture war he so deftly sidestepped throughout this campaign,” as well as make fools out of pro-Obama Catholics like Douglas Kmiec

This is a fight that should’ve happened during the campaign, but Dear Leader Hopenchange sidestepped it with all the skill of a career politician and Washington insider. Bring it.

crazy_legs on November 25, 2008 at 12:49 PM

How did Catholics justify voting for Barry, anyway?

By lots and lots of rationalizing. If FOCA comes to pass, it will be very interesting how the “Rats” walk the line with all the special interest groups out there. I suspect, like the amnesty scheme, this is one of those issues that crosses political boundaries in great numbers.

highhopes on November 25, 2008 at 12:50 PM

I know Obama is centrist because everyone keeps telling me he is, therefore by opposing Obama you must be opposing centrism. You’re anti-centrist!

/lib

JohnJ on November 25, 2008 at 12:52 PM

I guess I’m stuck on the bigger issue that a church-related organization shouldn’t be forced to choose between complying with state-sanctioned murder or curtailing services.

highhopes on November 25, 2008 at 12:46 PM

It’s because they take Medicare, etc.

Is that another option for those RCC hospitals? Instead of shutting down, they just refuse to accept Medicare, etc. as payment.

cryptojunkie on November 25, 2008 at 12:53 PM

I wonder if they will go toe to toe on this. How far will they go? If they just have a fire sale of the hospitals to another provider or sell out to the state then they will be facilitating what happens there next. If they just resign from the boards and control, same thing. (More Abortions). Nope, they will have to sell all the equiptment, fire all the workers and tear down the buildings for their statement to have any impact at all. I hope they do it if they get no exception but I’m not holding my breath.

MargaretMN on November 25, 2008 at 12:53 PM

highhopes on November 25, 2008 at 12:50 PM

I guarantee the Congressional Switchboards will be flooded.
Pro-life Supporters will be on this like Grant took Richmond.

kingsjester on November 25, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Nationalize the hospitals that have been funded by generations of Sunday offertory baskets? Can’t wait to see the RNC commercials about that. He wouldn’t dare.

Little Boomer on November 25, 2008 at 12:31 PM

Yes we can he would.

hillbillyjim on November 25, 2008 at 12:59 PM

I wonder how many Catholic priests and Catholic lay officials are planning their trips to be in Washington on January 20th but not on January 22nd?

jay12 on November 25, 2008 at 12:59 PM

While the Church might have trouble walking away from providing care to the poor, many devout Catholic doctors might not be so willing.

My Catholic BIL is a urologist and he won’t even perform sterilizations.

katiejane on November 25, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Has anyone seen a draft of this bill? I can’t find one. Also, it seems to me that some of the things we are told will be in FOCA are outlandish and unconstitutional.

I really can’t see the government forcing procedures on doctors. That is quite different from ending a ban on federal money going towards programs that include abortion.

lexhamfox on November 25, 2008 at 1:02 PM

easy…not everyone is a single issue voter.

ernesto on November 25, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Earnesto – I know I could easily name at least 10 single issues that would change your vote away from a politician no matter how outstanding he/she was on all other issues.

How about “All Jews should be gassed at sunrise” ? Would that stance on anti-semitism sway your vote? How is that all that different than the abortion stance of leftist?

ksm on November 25, 2008 at 1:06 PM

While there are some advantages to having 1/3d of this nation’s hospitals close their doors in the face of Obama’s actions – namely, that he would be smacked in the face with the logical consequences of his boneheaded policies – the downside is that this would accelerate the trend towards government-sponsored health care.

A lot of people confuse health insurance with access to health care. Catholic hospitals provide the latter; even those who are uninsured can still get high-quality care. So while the number of uninsured won’t go up, the number of untreated people will, and this will cause all sorts of wailing and gnashing of teeth about how the government should be running those hospitals, rather than people who can close them at will.

Roxeanne de Luca on November 25, 2008 at 1:09 PM

they will close the doors on every facility rather than be forced to perform abortions — and wonders how the Obama administration plans to replace a third of all hospitals in the nation?

barry will seize the hospitals in the name of national security. What better way to beging the nationalization of the health care system.

make fools out of pro-Obama Catholics like Douglas Kmiec.

Anyone who heard this idiot talk about his choice of barry already knows there is something seriously wrong with the guy.

peacenprosperity on November 25, 2008 at 1:09 PM

easy…not everyone is a single issue voter.

This is more than a single issue. This cuts right to the free excercise clause of the First Ammendment. The Catholic hospitals are morally and religiously bound to refuse to perform abortions. If the Government is going to force them to go against their moral and religious values and write a law requiring them to perform abortions, then isn’t that against the free excercise of the Catholic faith, which prohibits abortion? It’s the exact same thing where in Massachusetts the government was going to force Catholic Charities to adopt to gay couples, even though it was against their moral and religious views. So what did Catholic Charities do? Got out of the adoption business in Massachusetts, rather than do something that was against their moral and religious standing.

It’s also a slippery slope. Once the government tells these Catholic hospitals that they have to perform abortions against their will, what’s to stop them from telling you what kind of business to run, or product to sell? Or what kind of job to have? Or legislating “required community service”?

crazy_legs on November 25, 2008 at 1:10 PM

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