NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon

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Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)

The Freedom of Choice Act was introduced in Congress on January 22, 2004 by Senator Barbara Boxer. The bill, S 2020, proposes to prohibit, consistent with Roe v. Wade, the interference by the government with a woman's right to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

  • FOCA will restore the reproductive rights recognized under the broad vision expressed in 1973 in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, before legislatures and courts eroded these rights.
  • Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions, despite the known hazards that included unsanitary conditions, incompetent treatment, infection, hemorrhage, disfiguration, and death. 
  • According to one estimate, prior to 1973, as many as 5,000 women died each year in the United States as a result of having an illegal abortion.
  • In countries where abortion remains illegal, the risk of complications and maternal mortality is high. According to the World Health Organization, of the approximately 600,000 pregnancy-related deaths occurring annually around the world, 80,000 are associated with unsafe abortions.
  • 87 percent of the counties in the United States have no abortion provider. 
  • Since Roe v. Wade, the right to choose abortion has been systematically eroded by anti-choice legislators in many states. In fact, more than 350 anti-choice measures have been enacted in the states since 1995. These measures make the right an empty one for many American women.
  • Women in 17 states could face sweeping bans on abortion if the Supreme Court reverses Roe and allows states to re-criminalize abortion, menacing doctors and their patients with the threat of criminal investigation, prosecution, and even imprisonment.
  • FOCA will secure the right to choose by establishing a federal law that will guarantee reproductive freedom for future generations of American women. This guarantee will protect women’s rights even if President Bush and an anti-choice Congress are successful in reversing Roe v. Wade or enacting even more restrictions on our right to choose.
  • "The Freedom of Choice Act supercedes any law, regulation or local ordinance that impinges on a woman’s right to choose. We need to take steps to secure our right to choose. Anti-choice is anti-woman, anti-equality, and it demonstrates a lack of respect for the intelligence and compassion that women possess. It is time to write Roe v. Wade into law." -Senator Barbara Boxer
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