Planned Parenthood Association of Utah Clergy Advisory Board Statement on Pregnancy and Substance Abuse
As clergy, we spend countless hours offering comfort and support to individuals as they face personal crises that affect their life. Our pastoral care experience teaches us that difficult decisions about health care are best left to doctors in consultation with the patient and without interference from politicians or the courts.
Women should be given the opportunity to be educated about substances that may be harmful during pregnancy, be given access to treatment resources available in their community, and be allowed to make personal decisions in conjunction with their families, spiritual advisors, and doctors.
Substance abuse is a serious issue that affects many people throughout Utah. As clergy we assert that it is the right of a woman to make health care decisions that are guided by her faith and her conscience.
Prenatal substance abuse is a complex public health problem that can result in multiple consequences for a woman and her baby. The problem of drug and alcohol abuse during pregnancy can be addressed with education programs that are designed to promote the birth of healthy babies and to achieve the best possible outcomes for pregnant women and their children.
Drug and alcohol abuse are complex and frequently stigmatized problems, especially within the context of pregnancy. As clergy, we believe that a woman has the right to determine what is best for her and for other important people in her life.
We believe that:
- Pregnant women in Utah deserve to be fully informed about the life-altering impacts that substances may have on themselves and their babies
- Pregnant women in Utah should be informed about the issues regarding pregnancy and substance use and the opportunities for treatment should she self-refer herself to a treatment facility
- Any options that can improve health outcomes for women and their babies should be offered to pregnant women regardless of their race, ethnicity, or ability to pay