4-February-2009 -- Catholic News Agency |

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"Prevention First Act" Greater Threat than FOCA, Pro-lifers Warn

Washington DC, Feb 4, 2009 (CNA).- Some pro-life leaders warn that activism against the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is distracting attention from its “evil twin,” the Prevention First Act (PFA). The PFA provides more taxpayer funding for contraception and abortion and contains coercive elements which could deny federal funding to some pro-life hospitals.

Patrick Daub, writing in the American Life League’s Nov. 19 STOPP Report, said that the PFA would make Title X family planning a permanent program and fund it at $700 million or more. In 2008 it received only $300 million.

Title X is a major source of funding for Planned Parenthood. In 2008 the organization received about 25 percent of the total funding, $75 million. Under the new rules, it could receive $175 million.

At present, Title X is a temporary program which must be renewed every year.

PFA would mandate that health insurance programs that cover prescriptions must cover abortifacient contraceptives.

According to Daub, the proposal would create a government program to promote abortifacient “emergency contraception” and would deny federal funding to hospitals which do not provide “emergency contraception” to rape victims.

Further, it would provide significant funding for “comprehensive” sex education programs like those promoted by Planned Parenthood and specifically exclude “abstinence-only” programs from its budget. The PFA would also permanently include “family planning services” as part of the Medicaid program.

The PFA was introduced in the last Congressional session and was reintroduced for the present Congressional session on Jan. 6 by Sen. Harry Reid under the bill number S. 21.

“We have been warning the entire pro-life movement that this would be a priority, and now we see it in black and white on the official White House web site’s women’s issues page,” commented Judy Brown, President of the American Life League.

“If we might repeat ourselves, this bill is FOCA's evil twin. It has now been introduced and is getting up steam. Yet few speak of it; in fact, nobody in the pro-life movement’s leadership – other than American Life League and our Stop Planned Parenthood division – has found it worthy of notice.”

Dr. William E. May, Senior Fellow of the Culture of Life Foundation, also commented on the bill, arguing “The Act is based on the false premise that contraception prevents abortion. The more contraception is available, the more abortions occur because contraception is the gateway to abortion.”

May’s statement argued that most abortions occur “because men and women do not want to have a baby but nonetheless have sexual intercourse.”

“Contraception facilitates premarital sex and has led to an alarming increase of sexually transmitted diseases,” May claimed.

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