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An Inauspicious Anniversary for a Continuing Threat: The Freedom of Choice Act Turns 20

by Denise M. Burke
Vice President of Legal Affairs

As debate rages over healthcare legislation currently under consideration in Congress and, specifically, whether abortion should be taxpayer-funded under the guise of “healthcare reform,” it would be easy to overlook an important and very inauspicious milestone:  the 20th anniversary of the federal “Freedom of Choice” Act (FOCA).

A Brief History of FOCA
Twenty years ago, in November 1989, FOCA was first introduced in Congress by Senator Alan Cranston and Representative Don Edwards, both California Democrats.  This radical new legislation seemed, in part, to be a response to the February 1989 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services where the Court upheld a Missouri law that restricted the use of state facilities and personnel for the performance of abortions and required viability testing in pregnancies of 20 weeks or more.