Letters To The Editor Certificate-of-need Bill Deserves Veto

Posted: October 08, 1986

I urge Gov. Thornburgh to veto the underage-drinking bill because of the improper amendment, by which Sen. Joe Rocks (D., Phila.) is attempting to misuse the "certificate-of-need" process in order to deny women their legal right to abortion by crippling clinics.

This would be an abuse of the concept of certificate-of-need, which has been used for the last 10 years by health systems agencies. The procedure is an intricate system of checks and balances that has as its purpose the prevention of too large and duplicative hospital buildings, equipment and services in order to reduce health care costs.

I have served on a health systems agency's committees and am familiar with the processes of public project review required at the local, regional and state levels for certificate-labeled large project applications. There was never any attempt to use the process to dictate medical treatment as this amendment intends to do. The intent of this amendment is not to control costs, but to control women.

It is distressing that the legislature wants to control medical practice to the detriment of women's and families' health by introducing coercive religious beliefs into medical care. It is part of the attempt to move medical practice back into the dark ages when religious prejudice was the controlling force rather than science.

Ethel Echternach Bishop

Allentown.

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