In her November 12 article, Washington Post staffer Jacqueline L. Salmon reported on how Catholic bishops are describing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) as "an attack on the church." Yet it's not so much an attack on the church, but an attack on the sanctity of human life and the provision of hospital care that the Catholic bishops are worried about.
Nonetheless, the headline wording choice -- "Bishops Call Obama-Supported Abortion Rights Bill a Threat to Catholic Church" -- and Salmon's lead paragraph practically painted the Catholic bishops' dispute as, well, parochial.
Salmon waited until 10 paragraphs into the 18-paragraph article to cite one bishop's concern about the future of Catholic medicine in America:
Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago warned of "devastating consequences" to the Catholic health-care system if the act nullified conscience laws that allow providers and institutions to decline to perform abortion-related procedures. He said it could force the closure of all Catholic hospitals.
Talk about burying the lead. Catholic hospitals serve communities across the country with a variety of health care services to people of all faiths, and legislation that might threaten the continued existence of those hospitals would be a grave disservice, particularly coming from a liberal Democratic administration that purports to be all about expanding access to health care.
Speaking of disservice, Salmon's bland way of describing President-elect Obama's support of FOCA missed an opportunity to highlight the Illinois Democrat's strong commitment to advocating policies for the pro-choice crowd. In the third paragraph of her page A10 article, Salmon merely noted that Obama "pledged during the campaign to sign the legislation."
Yet Obama did more than that, telling a Planned Parenthood audience in 2007 that his first act as president would be to sign FOCA. Video below via Jill Stanek: