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Grand Rapids Hospital Ceases Some Abortions After Pro-Life Protest

May 29, 1986

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ Blodgett Memorial Medical Center has stopped performing ″convenience abortions″ after protests by anti-abortion groups, a hospital official said Wednesday.

The hospital will perform medical abortions on a case-by-case basis if they are approved by a new, five-member hospital committee. A policy says that abortions will be allowed only if the mother’s life is in danger or for other sound medical reasons, said hospital president Terry M. O’Rourke.

The new policy was prompted by protests from the Christian Action Council, an anti-abortion evangelical lobbying group based in Falls Church, Va., Rourke said.

″We’re a public institution and we did re-issue this policy as a result of CAC demands,″ he said.

The Rev. Robert Borger, president of the anti-abortion group, said he was not satisfied with the new policy.

″It is basically the same policy we’ve been holding mass marches against, except (hospital officials) have replaced ‘sound medical procedures’ in place of a list of fetal abnormalities,″ he said. ″This policy will not satisfy us; it’s just another smokescreen.″

The hospital’s abortion committee will consist of three physicians, including those who represent anti- and pro-abortion stands, a nurse and a member of the community.

Dr. Curtis Struyk, Blodgett head of obstetrics and gynecology, said serious birth defects would be considered among sound medical reasons to approve an abortion.