ARLINGTON, Virginia, December 2, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Paul Loverde of the diocese of Arlington weighed in on the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) last week, saying that if he oversaw a Catholic hospital he would neither close the facility nor allow it to perform abortions if FOCA were to become law.
Though there are currently no Catholic hospitals in the Arlington diocese, the bishop spoke defiantly against FOCA, which would force all health care providers to procure abortions at any stage of development, regardless of their moral or religious objection.
"I would say, 'Yeah, I'm not going to close the hospital, you're going to arrest me, go right ahead," Bishop Loverde told a group of mostly young adults at a diocesan event, according to a CNS report.
"You'll have to drag me out, go right ahead. I'm not closing this hospital, we will not perform abortions, and you can go take a flying leap.'"
At a 2007 Planned Parenthood conference, Obama promised that one of his highest priorities as president would be to pass FOCA, rendering illegal all state and federal limits on abortion. This would include abortion clinic regulations, parental notification requirements, bars to taxpayer abortion funding, and the partial–birth abortion ban, in addition to laws protecting doctors' rights to conscientious objection.
"It's quite a title, let me tell you," Bishop Loverde said of the Freedom of Choice Act. "It's a misnomer, it's neither free nor choice, so I don't know where they got the name of the act, because it's just crazy, because it has no freedom, and it has no choice."
Catholic and pro-life voices have raised the alarm on the unprecedented danger the bill represents for unborn Americans, with Catholic officials particularly concerned that U.S. Catholic hospitals will be forced to close en masse in the face of mandatory abortion.
Chicago Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued in November a statement on behalf of all Catholic bishops warning Obama that "aggressive pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion."
One unnamed senior Vatican official recently told TIME magazine that the passage of FOCA would mean "the equivalent of a war" between Mr. Obama and the Catholic Church.