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Catholics for Choice Urges Members of Virginia Board of Health to Reject Proposed Abortion Regulations

August 31, 2011

Catholics for Choice is dismayed to see that one of the groups at the front of the pack pressing the Virginia Board of Health to impose limiting and unjust regulations on specific health providers in the Commonwealth is the Virginia Catholic Conference. Time and again we have seen US bishops, individually and collectively, try to curtail access to legal healthcare services by any means at their disposal. The bishops do not speak for Catholics on this issue. Catholics in Virginia, and across the country, support access to the full range of reproductive health services and use them at the same rates as do other women in the United States.

Having failed to convince Catholics in the pews to support the bishops’ complete opposition to contraception and abortion, the bishops now condone the targeting of abortion providers as another way of enforcing their wishes on all Americans, Catholic or not.  The Virginia bishops recognize that many of these clinics also provide prenatal counseling, emergency contraception for women who have been sexually assaulted and condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. Yet their obsession with making contraception and abortion unavailable in this country means they would deny these critical, even life-saving, services to all the men and women helped by these clinics.

It is disingenuous for the Virginia Catholic Conference and their conservative allies to claim that these arbitrary and politically-motivated restrictions are either what’s good for women’s health or what Catholics in Virginia believe is the right thing to do.  Contrary to what many in the Catholic hierarchy claim, there is strong support among Catholics for a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare services, including abortion, on the basis of social justice and respect for a woman’s conscience.

Catholics for Choice urges members of the Virginia Board of Health to exercise prudence and fairness and reject these limiting restrictions.