FOCA Watch: Still AWOL, But NPR’s Talking

I caught this bit on ATC tonight: some discussion about abortion and the secondary policies hovering around the issue. There was some discussion on ME, too; check farther down the page. I’m still seeing some punditry on conservative sites about President Obama being the most pro-abortion ever. But it was an interesting admission from Republican Rich Galen that FOCA was more fundraising fodder than factual threat.

Galen seemed to think Senator Brownback’s prominence in the March for Life was as much or more about his run for Kansas governor in 2010. Galen also served up big doses of pragmatism  in his interview.

Have the extreme positions on abortion negated each other? When people decide they’re not going to vote pro-life or pro-choice no matter what, have they sent the signal that no mainstream candidate need listen to them?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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8 Responses to FOCA Watch: Still AWOL, But NPR’s Talking

  1. FRS says:

    I have encountered many in the past week who truly believed that FOCA would be signed into law on Thursday 1/23.

    I mentioned that closing Guantanamo and restating that Geneva Conventions and so forth were “pro-life” to one such person and was sneered at.

    Another told me that it was going to be hard to live for the next four years because “George Bush was such a positive force in the battle for life and Obama will not be.”

    This is very distressing to me.

    I think that there is an astounding amount of FOCA-based fear that is irrational. I am against FOCA but the chances of it passing at this point in time are small and the opportunities to focus on how to respect all life are in the meantime very great.

  2. Liam says:

    Two lamentable actions by Obama in the past 24 hours:

    1. Overturning the ban on federal assistance to foreign organizations that may provide abortion services. I had a very discounted hope that Obama might use the financial crisis to delay that decision, since we don’t really have money anyway to be giving to family planning organizations. (The real issue is hospitals and general clinics that don’t refuse to provide abortions.)

    2. He left wriggle room in the executive order adopting the Army Field Manual interrogation techniques to have a process that would recommend additional techniques. It’s not yet clear if this is there as a sop to CIA resisters and is intended as a formal option that will in fact produce no actionable recommendations, or not. Still, it needs to be eliminated entirely.

    We should call Obama out on things as we see them, especially those who voted for him. Let’s not repeat the defense-of-Bush/Cheney-above-all approach of the past 8 years.

  3. Todd says:

    Liam, did he really overturn that ban? Wasn’t that the Mexico City gag rule, or is there something else?

  4. Liam says:


    My bad. I had trusted two equivocally-worded (now I know they were equivocally worded) news reports I heard/read this morning, and not verified that it had happened already.

  5. John Heavrin says:

    Give him time, fellas, he’s only been president for 72 hours. He’ll deliver what his base wants on abortion.

    “…we don’t really have money anyway to be giving to family planning organizations…”

    Sure we do. We’ll print it, sell t-bonds to ourselves, etc. Do you really think Daschle would have taken HHS if thought it was going to be about spending *less* money on stuff like this? I don’t. We’re going to print-and-spend to the tune of 1.5, maybe 2 trillion dollar deficits for the next few years…easy to find (that is, print) a few bucks to placate the loyal base with a few of their pet abortion goals.

    I find your “FOCA watch” amusing, Todd. I can’t speak for all conservatives, natch, but I really didn’t think FOCA would pass or be signed in the first day or three of the new regime, or in the first 72 days. My point is and has always been and will remain that there is a sizable portion of his base that very much wants it, will bring great pressure to bear on him, and he and the Congress will either have to pass and sign FOCA or answer to that doubtless increasingly impatient base (composed largely of white females who wanted Hillary a lot more than him anyway, remember?) as to why they haven’t. Period. There is no way in the world he can just…let it go, let it fade. But again, only the most excitable, distraught, and frankly ignorant (I’m none of the three) of his foes thought it would happen within minutes and hours of his botched oathtaking.

    By the way, I think it was the first time in history that you had Harvard Law grads on both ends of that oath of office…figures they’d turn it into an Abbott and Costello routine. :)

    I do give Obama credit for subtle politics: why do the executive orders on Mexico City, etc., on Jan. 22? Why poke the pro-lifers, marching outside his window, in the eye with that? But those orders will be forthcoming, bet on it (not sure which day, Todd, maybe it won’t be today, tomorrow, the next day or the next day). Soon, how’s that?

    “FOCA watch” I like it, look forward to following it.

  6. Todd says:

    The point is, John, that many public pro-lifers from the bishops on down, made FOCA, not Mexico City, their rallying cry. Huge opportunity lost.

    And sure, it might not have made any difference to a pro-choice president in the long run.

    But seeing pro-lifers twist about with their own dictators of relativism: that needs to be called out. We need a serious change in pro-life leadership. At least a president is electable. Sam Brownback is just keeping his name in the news.

  7. Jimmy Mac says:

    Elephant in the living room time re FOCA:

    Could it be that, for the majority of people in this country, abortion is simply not a debatable issue any more? Marches pro and con on abortion appear to be drawing fewer and fewer participants as the years move on. The extremes have solidified and the vast middle deals with it, case by case, time by time.

    Until the church figures out how to get its message to the vast middle in a compelling way, this will continue to be a debate between the extremes … and a big ho hum for the rest.

  8. Michael says:

    As usual, Jimmy Mac is right.

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