Thursday's annual March of Life in Washington is drumming up heated debate about the potential passage of a bill meant to protect a woman's right to choose to have an abortion.
The Freedom of Choice Act was introduced to Congress in 2007 as an umbrella bill aimed to protect women's health and their right to "to begin, prevent, or continue a pregnancy."
President Promised to Sign
During his campaign, President Barack Obama promised to sign the measure should it pass through Congress.
Now, 81 House Republicans, including their leadership. are asking the President to withdraw his pledge to sign the act.
Talk of the FOCA's passage in Congress has become a rallying cry for the pro-life movement in several states.
"FOCA has definitely energized the Maryland movement," Angela Martin, executive director of Maryland Right to Life told Fox News.
"We are receiving many more calls and inquiries to our Web site. We feel that the pro-life people are very concerned and ready to take action," she explained.
The act is designed to eliminate the "threats that remain" to Roe v. Wade, according to proponents. Those threats include efforts to reverse the landmark ruling entirely, as well as "legislative or administrative policies that make abortion more difficult and dangerous to obtain."
"It ensures. women, teenagers, and poor women in particular, that these services will be available to them every day, every month, and every year and not be affected by political whims," said Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for Choice in Washington.
Kissling says current consent laws that require minors to obtain parental permission before having an abortion are not designed to provide full knowledge about the procedure, but to "scare" and misinform.
A License to Kill?
Advocates for the Freedom of Choice Act say the new law would allow just that -- unencumbered reproductive choices. Pro-lifers see it as a license to kill.
"FOCA would eliminate restrictions on abortion nationwide," said Martin, such as parental consent or waiting periods.
"Waiting periods are there to protect women's health and reflect on the consequences. The 'restrictions' are meant to protect ," she said.
"FOCA violates the conscience rights of those that are opposed to abortion," Martin explained.
Sources: CBN News, Fox News, The Associated Press