APHA Opposes Restrictions on Abortions
Special Report - February 26, 2008
In addition to encouraging breastfeeding by new moms, the American Public Health Association (APHA) also wants state lawmakers to “repeal or oppose” laws that ban abortion procedures or limit access to abortion in any way. In a press release on February 14, the APHA announced the new abortion policy, which was enacted by the group’s Governing Council at its 135th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on November 6, 2007. The policy is one of 20 policies adopted at the meeting by the APHA on issues ranging from obesity to the use of lead paint in children’s toys. Although the APHA has supported abortion for years, the new policy is the first to address state-level laws dealing with abortion. Titled “The Need for State Legislation Protecting and Enhancing Women’s Ability to Obtain Safe, Legal Abortion Services Without Delay or Government Interference,” it begins by lamenting the U.S. Supreme Court’s April 2007 decision to uphold the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.
The policy notes that: “This ruling has opened the door for states to further restrict abortion, with an understanding that the courts will now allow legislation that does not include an exception to preserve a woman’s health.” The policy goes on to list examples of the increased pro-life legislation introduced or passed at the state level in the past year, and then calls on state legislatures to: “Repeal or oppose state laws that in any way limit access to safe abortion services, including, but not limited tomandatory delays and information or counseling that is not science based; bans on specific abortion procedures; parental consent or notification requirements; targeted regulation of abortion providers; and limits for advanced practice clinicians in providing abortion services. [And] Support state laws that improve access to safe abortion services, including but not limited toprovide funding for abortion care via state Medicaid funds; maintain medical decision-making within the patienthealth care provider relationship; strengthen and enshrine the current federal protection on the right to access abortion under Roe v. Wade; allow trained advanced practice clinicians to provide medication and aspiration abortions; and protect health facilities and clinicians who provide abortion care.” Responding to the APHA policy, NCFPC President Bill Brooks said, “The APHA claims on its web site that part of its purpose is to ‘protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats.’ So how does support for abortion fit into this goal? Unborn babies, regardless of how they are conceived, are not a health threat. The APHA should be ashamed for its advocacy of a procedure that not only ends the life of an innocent unborn child but also puts women at serious risk for lifelong physical, mental and emotional damage.”
Brooks continued, “This policy reveals how extreme the APHA and other public health organizations have become on the issue of abortion. How can the APHA claim to be about protecting and promoting public health on one hand, and then turn around and oppose common sense laws that require abortion providers to give women the facts about abortion, or that allow parents to be involved in their children’s medical decisions?”
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