Slate on FOCA

Good piece by Melinda Henneberger in Slate on FOCA.  She urges Obama and the democats in Congress to scuttle FOCA:

At the very moment when Obama and his party have won the trust of so many Catholics who favor at least some limits on abortion, I hope he does not prove them wrong. I hope he does not make a fool out of that nice Doug Kmiec, who led the pro-life charge on his behalf. I hope he does not spit on the rest of us—though I don’t take him for the spitting sort—on his way in the door. I hope that his appointment of Ellen Moran, formerly of EMILY’s List, as his communications director is followed by the appointment of some equally good Democrats who hold pro-life views. By supporting and signing the current version of FOCA, Obama would reignite the culture war he so deftly sidestepped throughout this campaign. This is a fight he just doesn’t need at a moment when there is no shortage of other crises to manage.

Of course, she also notes the conventional wisdom that Obama and the Democrats in Congress were never really that serious about FOCA anyway:

People on both sides of the abortion argument have told me that despite a clear pro-choice majority in Congress, it’s not clear the Democrats have the votes to pass this particular bill. It hasn’t been put forward in a serious way—with any real chance of passing—in 15 years, and many members have never cast a vote on it. Some of the newly elected Democrats are pro-life—backed by their party for seats that would otherwise have gone to pro-life Republicans—and others are in the center on the abortion issue, meaning that they favor keeping it legal but with some limits. There are also serious questions about whether FOCA as currently drafted exceeds congressional authority. But when Obama was campaigning on FOCA, he didn’t say anything about wanting to change it.

That said – I think Henneberger would agree with this – it is important for Catholics to start mobilizing against FOCA to be certain that it is defeated.

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