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Planned Parenthood Administrator Resigns Over Proposed Amendment Language

April 19, 1990

BOSTON (AP) _ The medical director for Planned Parenthood’s state chapter said Wednesday he resigned the post because a pro-choice amendment to the Massachusetts constitution ″goes too far.″

Dr. Stanton Goldstein said he left the job because he could not join the group in backing abortion rights ″at any time in cases of rape or incest or to protect the life and health of the mother.″

″I cannot support an amendment that legalizes destructive procedures of a healthy fetus in the third trimester,″ he said. ″I was in an administrative role in an organization that stood for something politically that I could not agree with.″

Goldstein stepped down Tuesday but will remain a staff doctor with the pro- choice organization’s two Massachusetts clinics, whose administration he had overseen during the past five years.

The longtime pro-choice activist said he believed many people would find the proposed amendment broader than acceptable.

″It goes too far for me,″ he said. ″I as a physician believe that a destructive procedure in the third trimester is either unethical or immoral ... and therefore I am entering the public debate.″

Nicki Nichols Gamble, executive director of the state office of Planned Parenthood, said she expected debate and disagreement but regards ″the proposal as a fairly moderate one that captures the status quo.″

She said the organization would stand behind the proposed amendment, which must be approved by a constitutional convention and could go before voters in 1992.

The language was adopted last September after months of discussion among members of a ″Coalition for Choice,″ which included Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters, the Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women.

Coalition members initially filed seven different versions of the amendment proposal - some more and some less restrictive. A compromise was reached after extensive polling to test public support for each version.

Susan Newsom, associate director of Planned Parenthood, said the language ″is not the first choice for a lot of people.″ But she said the number of abortions performed after the second trimester was ″tiny.″

Of 38,200 abortions performed in the state in 1986, nine were late trimester abortions, according to the most recent figures by the state Department of Public Health.

Goldstein, however, put a different spin on the historically low figure.

″I have several questions,″ he said. ″If the number of abortions performed after the second trimester is so ‘tiny’ then why are we legislating for it? Is it so ‘tiny’ because it has not been legal up till now?″

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