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Statement of Support by Catholics for a Free Choice For Resolution 218 “Access to Comprehensive Reproductive Healthcare”

June 13, 2000

Catholics for a Free Choice supports Resolution 218, “Access to Comprehensive Reproductive Healthcare,” currently being considered by a committee of the American Medical Association.

Catholic hospitals are major providers of healthcare services and as such should not be allowed to deny legal reproductive health services when in a doctor’s judgement they are appropriate.  According to the Catholic Health Association, one out of five Americans receive their healthcare from a Catholic facility.  The failure of these facilities to provide basic reproductive health services such as tubal ligations in their communities can have a serious impact on the health and well-being of women.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tubal ligations are the most popular form of contraception in America.  And Catholics rely on tubal ligations to the same extent as non-Catholics.

A recent survey by Catholics for a Free Choice found strong support for the key points of the AMA resolution.  The survey found that 74% of American women would disapprove if a Catholic hospital and a non-Catholic hospital in their community merged and the surviving institution stopped offered birth control or other reproductive health services.

In addition, 85% said that doctors who work in Catholic hospitals that receive government funds should be permitted to provide any legal, medically sound services he or she thinks is needed, and 82% said that all hospitals that deliver babies should be required to offer sterilization services requested by women patients.

Religious dictates should not be allowed to determine the kinds of basic healthcare services that are available to women in their communities.