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January 21, 2009


Parishes of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have joined Catholics across the nation in a postcard campaign aimed at requesting that legislators oppose The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) should it be introduced in Congress by the new administration.

In conjunction with a national effort by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholics throughout the Archdiocese are being urged to send postcards to their two United States Senators, Arlen Specter (R) and Robert Casey (D) and their United States Representative. The postcards from constituents respectfully urge the legislators to "Please oppose FOCA, or any similar measure, and retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion."

In a September 2008 letter to Congress, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Chairman of the United States Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged all members of Congress "to pledge their opposition to FOCA and other legislation designed to promote abortion, so that we can begin a serious and sincere discussion on how to reduce the tragic incidence of abortion in our society."

The Freedom of Choice Act creates a "fundamental right" to abortion throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy. It would prevent any state or local government from denying or interfering with this "right," would eliminate conscience clause exemptions and would erase the need for parental consent in underage abortions. In addition, passage of FOCA would force tax-payer support for abortion. In short, FOCA would single-handedly overturn 35 years of pro-life laws and policies enacted by the people and their elected representatives. There have been intermittent efforts to pass the Freedom of Choice Act since 1989, but previous attempts were thwarted by widespread opposition. The current postcard campaign is slated for the weekend of January 24-25, 2009 in most parishes.

Cardinal Rigali has called on all Roman Catholics of the Archdiocese and the U.S. to become involved in opposition to FOCA by contacting their legislators during the USCCB postcard campaign. Postcards are available at all parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. "There is one thing absolutely everyone should be able to agree on," Cardinal Rigali wrote in his September 2008 letter to Congress. "We can't reduce abortions by promoting abortion…No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions."

Editor's Note: Anyone seeking to find their U.S. House and/or U.S. Senate representatives by zip code should go to More information regarding FOCA also is available on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia web site at and on the USCCB website at

Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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