On another thread William Collier brought up the recent letter which Cardinal Rigali sent to the members of Congress with regard to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). Rigali’s letter can be found here along with the legal opinion on which Rigali relied. It is an act that is said to “codify” Roe v. Wade and to sweep away any laws that “interfere” with a woman’s “fundamental right” to an abortion. In that respect, it is in fact more radical than Roe v. Wade. Sen. Obama has declared his support of the bill; presumably Sen. McCain opposes it.
I don’t believe we have had much discussion of this bill. It seems to me to raise issues different from those that arise when the question is whether to repeal Roe v. Wade, with regard to which people can differ, as our discussion of Doug Kmiec’s position has shown. This would be a case of turning abortion into a “fundamental right” and, it seems, of eliminating some of the restrictions that now are enacted as law in some states: e.g., parental notification–this is also the interpretation of the bill by NARAL and Planned Parenthood. It is one thing to conclude that it is not politically possible or practically helpful to overturn a law permitting abortion; it is another to vote to extend that permission.