WASHINGTON -- Internet rumors to the contrary, no Catholic hospital in the United States is in danger of closing because of the Freedom of Choice Act.
As a matter of fact, the Freedom of Choice Act died with the 110th Congress and, a week after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, has not been reintroduced.
But that hasn’t kept misleading e-mails from flying around the Internet, warning of the dire consequences if Obama signs FOCA into law and promoting a “FOCA novena” in the days leading up to Inauguration Day.
The Catholic Health Association “is strongly committed to opposing FOCA and (the board) is unanimous that we would do all we could to oppose it,” said Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., an elected member of the CHA board of trustees since June 2006.
“But there is no plan to shut down any hospital if it passes,” he added in a Jan. 26 telephone interview. “There’s no sense of ominous danger threatening health care institutions.”
Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is CHA president and CEO, was equally sure that FOCA poses no threat to Catholic hospitals or to the conscience rights of those who work there.