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Tolton Catholic HS to end relationship with clothing company over abortion stance

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Tolton Catholic High School announced Wednesday it is ending it's relationship with the clothing company that provides its school uniforms.

Administrators sent a letter home to parents saying it will no longer use Lands' End as a uniform provider because the company backs an advocate for abortion rights.

In the latest spring catalog, Lands' End endorses Gloria Steinem, who, according to the company, has "made a difference in her own industry and paved the way for others to follow."

Steinem has been an advocate for abortion rights for decades, and the letter said she has "spoken of women's 'need' for abortion, and referred to it as a 'sacrament.'"

Tolton said Lands' End has been a provider of its official uniform since 2011, but cannot continue that relationship in good conscience. 

The letter reads, "We believe unequivocally that all life is sacred, from conception until natural death. It would be contrary to our school's very identity to support a company who celebrates the work of someone so opposed to our beliefs."

Lands' End released a statement on Wednesday, "We understand that some of our customers were offended by the inclusion of an interview in a recent catalog with Gloria Steinem on her quest for women's equality. We thought it was a good idea and we heard from our customers that, for different reasons, it wasn't. For that, we sincerely apologize. Our goal was to feature individuals with different interests and backgrounds that have made a difference for our new Legends Series, not to take any political or religious stance."

ABC 17 News contacted the Diocese from Jefferson City for their response to Tolton's decision.

"We are supportive of Fr. Tolton High School's decision to no longer use Lands' End as a uniform supplier," said Sister Julie Brandt, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Jefferson City.  "We will be contacting all of our schools to make them aware of Tolton High School's decision and the facts related to that decision. We aren't aware of how many other diocesan schools use Lands' End as an official supplier, but we want all the schools to be aware of the situation when the local pastors, principals and advisory boards make their decisions on uniform companies," said Sister Julie Brandt, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

The Diocese of Jefferson City has 37 elementary schools and three high schools in 38 counties of central and northeast Missouri.

Tolton said students may continue to wear any previously purchased Lands' End clothing, but new uniform pieces can be purchased from Snow Creek Apparel, a family owned company in Columbia.



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