BURLINGTON, Vt. — The University of Vermont Medical Center will offer elective abortion procedures, ending a 45-year-old policy.

The Burlington Free Press reports the hospital’s board voted unanimously to approve the change in September. A UVM Medical Center spokeswoman says the reversal wasn’t publicly disclosed because of hospital policy. Board Chairwoman Allie Stickney says the hospital’s abortion policy was implemented before the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade which legalized the procedure.

The hospital changed its policy at the request of its medical staff. Stickney says the board wanted to honor its staff’s recommendation.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington spokeswoman Ellen Kane says the reversal comes as a surprise. Covenant Health, a Catholic health network, owns UVM Medical Center’s Fanny Allen Campus. Kane says abortion will still be prohibited at the campus.

Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com

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