We want to thank the Daily Pilot and reporter Jill Cowan for the honest and objective article about Hoag Hospital's new agreement with the state attorney general's office ("Attorney general, Hoag Hospital reach accord on abortion," April 4).

We had been stunned by the unexpected announcement in May 2013 that our respected hospital, Hoag, had affiliated with St. Joseph, had banned all "elective abortions," and that our Presbyterian hospital was suddenly subject to the Catholic Bishops' Statement of Common Values and Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs).

The provisions of the new agreement are good news to the citizens of Orange County — men and women — who have trusted Hoag for so many years. Good news especially in assurance that Hoag will terminate pregnancies that threaten the life or health of the woman, and that Hoag will not be bound by the 72 ERDs, which are extremely restrictive and put many decisions about life and death, from conception to terminal illness, in the hands of the bishops, whether the patient is Catholic or not.

American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

With this as our guide, more than 30 members of the Newport Beach Women's Democratic Club (NBWDC) gathered with signs to march at Hoag Hospital and followed up with letters to the editors of local newspapers. The NBWDC also joined with the Orange County Women's Coalition, under the leadership of our president, Dr. Suzanne Savary, and Lori Vandemeir, president of the National Organization for Women (Orange County Chapter).

We were active in the Coalition and joined the Coalition in urging the attorney general to reopen the investigation into the original affiliation. We also urged Hoag directly to soften its suddenly hard attitude toward women in need.

We feel our efforts as thoughtful, committed citizens had an important impact in achieving the changes effected by the attorney general in the new AG/Hoag agreement.

Donna Dawson

Newport Coast

The writer handles communications for the Newport Beach Women's Democratic Club (NBWDC).