Thursday, February 26, 2009

Senator McCaskill on FOCA

Got this email today from my (Catholic) Senator. I suppose it is a response to the FOCA postcard I signed. I may have some additional commentary tomorrow, but for now 3 points:

1. She spends a fair amount of space defending the bill before noting it hasn't yet been introduced. That doesn't bode well for its hoped-for non-introduction.

2. Her approach to abortion reduction is S. 21 which is nothing but a sop for Planned Parenthood and its allies.

3. She makes no mention of the S. 270 (Bob Casey - D. PA) which is a bill to provide direct assistance to pregnant women and is the main vehicle supported by groups pushing for abortion reduction. That appears so far to be a non-starter.

Here it is:

Dear Mr. Smith:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Freedom of Choice Act. I appreciate having your comments and welcome the opportunity to respond.

Abortion should be safe, legal and rare. Women, especially those victimized by rape and incest, deserve to have the access to emergency contraception and safe abortions if they so choose. There is a great deal of misinformation about this bill. This legislation would protect women's reproductive rights whether they are women serving our country in the military overseas or a recipient of Medicaid. There is nothing in the bill that would require health care professionals to perform abortions nor does the bill mandate federal funding of abortions. This bill merely puts the current constitutional protections into law. It does however, prohibit the federal or state government from denying or interfering with a woman’s right to choose to bear a child.

You should also know that this bill has not even been introduced in this session of Congress.

I agree with you - our priority must be to prevent abortions. However, I believe that we must do this without criminalizing women and their doctors. That is why I am a strong supporter of S. 21, the Prevention First Act. This legislation would help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions, and improve access to women’s health care by increasing awareness about contraception and expanding Medicaid family planning services. S.21 was introduced on January 6, 2009 and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions where it awaits further consideration.

Again, I appreciate your taking the time to share your views. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future regarding other matters of interest or concern to you.

All best,
Senator Claire McCaskill

PS: If any readers have received a reply to the FOCA email or postcard campaign, please drop them in the comments or email them to me (address is in the right hand panel). I'd be particularly interested in replies from the original sponsors - Senator Boxer and Representative Nadler.