FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2019
RCRC HAILS FAMILY PLANNING PROVIDERS’ RESISTANCE
TO NEW TITLE X RESTRICTIONS ROOTED IN CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANITY
Family planning providers that receive federal funding under the Title X program — including Planned Parenthood health centers — have announced they will defy new Title X regulations which go into effect this week. The change, referred to as a “gag rule,” prohibits these providers from discussing the option of abortion with people who are pregnant and from making referrals for abortions.
In response, Rev. Katey Zeh, interim executive director of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), issued the following statement:
“RCRC is in solidarity with family planning providers defying the new Title X restrictions. The gag rule is an unethical and audacious manipulation of federal policy that sabotages access to health care and perpetuates harmful ideologies. At its core, this Title X restriction is designed to uphold systems of oppression that target poor communities and communities of color, doing it all under the cover of religious beliefs most Americans don’t share.
“The clergy and laypeople of RCRC have always challenged the conservative Christian quest for control over the bodies and our reproductive lives of all in the United States. Our advocacy for reproductive freedom and dignity is guided by values shared across many faith traditions, not from just one. These shared beliefs guide us to three important moral conclusions: First, deciding what to do about a pregnancy is up to each individual who should make a decision according to their conscience and God-given free will. Second, complying with unethical government policies is simply immoral in a democratic society that strives for justice for all. And third, as a society, we have a responsibility to care for the poor, not further oppress them.
“Defying anti-abortion policies is the very work that Christian and Jewish clergy did before Roe v. Wade with our forerunner, the Clergy Consultation Service, offering pastoral care and referrals to safe abortions for those who sought them. Today, defying this Title X restriction is an urgent and necessary response to Donald Trump’s full-bore campaign to roll back hard-won abortion rights — and more broadly, human rights —any way it can, ethical or not.”