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“Like Planned Parenthood, I could never refuse comprehensive care to one of my parishioners,” Rev. Wayne Gnatuk

LOUISVILLE, KY – On Thursday, the Lexington Herald-Leader published an op-ed highlighting the outcome of the limited services that clergy, social workers and other reproductive health advocates would be able to provide should HB 142, a state-level ‘gag rule’ move ahead in the Kentucky General Assembly. 

Reverend Wayne A. Gnatuk wrote against HB 142 because it would prevent him from providing “all-option counseling” and comprehensive care to parishioners with unplanned pregnancies. Rev. Gnatuk is a retired Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastor who lives in Lexington and is the Chair of the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (KRCRC) and a supporter of Planned Parenthood. Rev. Gnatuk, along with 14 members of the KRCRC signed on to the piece to “pray” for the defeat of “this dangerous and immoral bill.”

Highlights from the piece:

“There are faith communities who provide a variety of desperately needed social services as part of their stated mission, and those services may use what HB 142 calls “public agency funds.” When this is the case HB 142 would prohibit a clergy person from providing comprehensive care to parishioners with unplanned pregnancies.”

“This bill is Kentucky’s version of the Trump-Pence administrations unethical gag rule. Which makes it illegal for health care providers in the Title X program to refer patients for an abortion. Because of Planned Parenthood’s commitment to ethical patient care, it would be impossible for Planned Parenthood to continue participating in the program because Planned Parenthood won’t withhold critical information from their patients.”

It is clear that HB 142  will impact all state funding recipients from even talking about abortion— an unconstitutional condition that would be placed on health care providers, therapists, counselors, clergy members, and others for engaging in both their First and Fourteenth Amendment protected activities.

Under HB 142, as a condition of receiving any public agency funds for services that could be completely unrelated to the provision of or advocacy about abortion, people would have to agree not only to not provide abortions in their activities separate from agency work, but also to not even counsel anyone in favor of abortion.