February 22, 2019
As members of the Clergy Advocacy Board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America we condemn the Trump-Pence Administration’s proposed gag rule which makes it illegal for doctors, nurses, hospitals, community health centers, and any other provider in the Title X Family Planning Program to tell patients how they can safely and legally access abortion. This gag rule would also make it impossible for millions of patients to access birth control at Planned Parenthood health centers across the country. As clergy leaders, we see this egregious gag rule as yet another misguided attempt to impose one set of religious restrictions into the private lives of Americans, to the detriment of women, families and the public health. Furthermore, any rule, like this one, that impairs access to basic health care, does the greatest harm to those who are poor and already find it hard to get the medical attention they need.
We are called as clergy and faith leaders to provide pastoral care to people facing medical decisions. Day in and out, clergy witness the importance of providing each patient the whole medical truth, protecting the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship, and ensuring access to the care that arises from these personal, private deliberations. Furthermore, our faiths and pastoral experience bear witness to the urgency and moral good in available access to all forms of contraception, and in keeping abortion safe and legal.
In the strongest terms, this Clergy Advocacy Board condemns this gag rule for bringing politicians into the exam room, impairing access to truthful medical information, undermining the patient’s moral agency, harming the poor and those in need, and for blocking access to preventive health care, including contraception and safe and legal abortion.