Monday, October 5, 2015

ACLU: Catholic Hospitals Receiving Federal Money Should Offer Services to Women That They Need

"We’re taking a stand today to fight for pregnant women who are denied potentially life-saving care because doctors are forced to follow religious directives rather than best medical practices,” said ACLU of Michigan Staff Attorney Brooke A. Tucker in announcing a lawsuit against Trinity Health Corporation, one of the largest Catholic health systems in the country. “Catholic bishops are not licensed medical professionals and have no place dictating how doctors practice medicine, especially when it violates federal law.”

Abortion to save the life of the mother is not the only issue. Patients with cancer whose disease might be made worse should they become pregnant or for whom treatments might pose terrible risks to a fetus cannot have their tubes tied. And emergency contraception or even a discussion of it even post-rape is off limits too. 

Both Catholic and Non-Catholic women are impacted by restrictions imposed by the Catholic church. Nationally, Catholic hospitals account for one in nine hospital beds and in some states as many as 1 in 6. Ten of the 25 largest hospital systems in the U.S. are Catholic. In the past decade mergers have led to a 16 percent increase in the number of Catholic-sponsored hospitals. In some communities there is no other option for emergency care.