We stand for choice

I was among the 961 Planned Parenthood supporters at the public hearing November 9. Here's the reason for the turnout [November 11: "In the zone: Pros (life & choice) turn out"] of near Biblical numbers.

We believe in the quality of life available here in Charlottesville, and the accessible, affordable reproductive health care available at Planned Parenthood is part of that quality of life.

We vastly outnumbered the 175 Central Virginia Family Forum supporters seeking to shut down Planned Parenthood and deny women access to reproductive choices, including birth control.

That's right: Birth control– perhaps the most effective way to prevent abortions– is next on their list. If certain anti-choice proponents have their way, pharmacists would be able to refuse to fill contraceptive prescriptions on "moral" grounds.

This "Refusal Clause" legislation will be under consideration during this year's General Assembly session. Proponents of this legislation call it a "Conscience Clause" and argue that healthcare providers should not be forced to fill a prescription that conflicts with their conscience. We are talking about basic health care here– and physician-prescribed medication that 95 percent of women have used at some point in their lifetimes.

Denying patients the right to medical care prescribed by their own physician is intolerable. Our community does not tolerate attacks on Planned Parenthood or the reproductive services provided there. We certainly stand ready to defend reproductive rights again when the General Assembly session begins January 12.

Amy Lemley