From the St. Louis Review 1/23/09:
Missouri for years has been viewed as a leader in regulating abortion.
But if the federal Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) were to be passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama, there’s likely a chance those laws would become null and void.
“Missouri has a lot to lose as a result of the enactment of FOCA, if in fact that happens,” said Deacon Larry Weber, executive director and general counsel with the Missouri Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops…
FOCA has the potential to wipe out a broad range of abortion regulation laws on the state level. In general terms, it would give a woman the fundamental right to obtain an abortion. That goes beyond the provision in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that women have a privacy interest in obtaining an abortion.
Unlike FOCA, however, the Roe decision notes that “as the pregnancy progresses, the state’s interest in both the maternal and the life and health of the unborn child grows, too,” Weber explained.
Missouri has a host of regulation laws on the books that the Catholic Conference and other pro-life groups have fought for over the years, including a requirement that only physicians provide abortions, prohibitions on abortion methods such as partial-birth abortion, health and safety regulations at abortion clinics and parental consent for minors seeking an abortion.
If FOCA becomes law, “all of those could be read in such a way that would hinder a woman’s right to get an abortion,” said Weber. “In that regard, they would all be struck down in the courts.”