The following comes from a Nov. 12 editorial in the Los Angeles Times.
Via Nina Martin of ProPublica comes word that America’s Catholic bishops are moving toward tightening religious restrictions on physicians and nonsectarian hospitals that join with them in mergers and partnerships.
This can’t be good news for anyone concerned about the state of women’s healthcare. That’s where medical practice and Catholic doctrine are most frequently in conflict. And it’s happening as Catholic hospitals are playing a more influential role in the American healthcare system.
Women’s clinics at some Catholic-controlled hospitals have had to be designated secular zones, so doctors can practice without interference. –
The Affordable Care Act encourages and facilitates hospital mergers; many of these deals involve Catholic health systems as dominant partners. A joint study last December by the MergerWatch Project and the ACLU reported that 10 of the nation’s largest hospital systems were Catholic-sponsored in 2011. From 2001 to 2011, the study found, the number of beds in Catholic hospitals rose by 13%, the largest such change of any category of hospital except the for-profit sector. In Washington state, one quarter of all hospitals are Catholic-affiliated, and in some communities around the country, patients have no other choice.
None of this would matter if the church did not try to impose religious directives on the practice of medicine. But that’s what it has been doing. Doctors and patients in Orange County saw the process in action last year, after Newport Beach’s Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, one of Orange County’s leading medical centers, merged with St. Joseph Health System, a Catholic chain.
Despite being assured for months that nothing in their medical practice would change as a result of the deal, Hoag doctors were abruptly informed in May 2013 that abortions would henceforth be banned — a restriction imposed at St. Joseph’s insistence.
The MergerWatch/ACLU report and other sources document numerous instances of interference by religious prelates in medical decisions, especially those in which emergency terminations of pregnancies are indicated to save the mother. In Bartlesville, Okla., doctors at a hospital acquired by a Catholic system were forbidden to prescribe any contraceptives, if they were to be used as birth control. (After the rule provoked a public outcry, it was rescinded.)
The abortion ban and these other restrictions reflect the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The ERDs forbid abortions even in cases of rape or incest and forbid or sharply restrict access to contraceptives, sterilization procedures, in vitro fertilization or the use of sperm or egg donors. It limits hospitals’ compliance with patients end-of-life directives.
To put it simply, if you’re concerned about insurance executives or the government getting between you and your doctor, how do you feel about a bishop taking their place?
This week, the U.S. bishops voted 213 to 2 to revise the ERDs to make them more applicable to merger and business partners of Catholic health systems. The vote was in response to a mandate from the Vatican requiring that “Catholic health care institutions neither cooperate immorally with the unacceptable procedures conducted in other health care entities with which they may be connected nor cause scandal as a result of their collaboration.”
That’s bound to complicate merger deals, which are complicated enough already: Women’s clinics at some Catholic-controlled hospitals have had to be designated secular zones, so doctors can practice without interference. Whether that would still be allowed under the revisions isn’t clear.
The bishops’ action may place new pressures on public officials with jurisdiction over such deals. Officials haven’t always met their obligations to the public interest when Catholic hospitals take over non-Catholic institutions. California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris approved the Hoag/St. Joseph merger even after learning that the abortion ban would be imposed.
A year later, when evidence emerged that Hoag and St. Joseph officials might have misled her over the consequences of the deal, Harris imposed stricter terms. “Abortions” were redefined so that not all such procedures would come under the ban. It was made clear that Hoag can’t interfere with physicians performing procedures in their own offices, even if those are located on Hoag premises. Hoag’s commitment to maintaining women’s reproductive services at the same levels as before the merger was lengthened to 20 years from 10. And Hoag permanently committed itself not to be bound by the ERDs.
But that doesn’t fully remedy the damage this merger did to women’s rights in California where abortions are, after all, legal. As a result of the merger, women’s ability to obtain a legal procedure in a leading hospital has been permanently eroded.
As more Catholic health systems attempt to acquire secular hospitals, the threat to the unfettered practice of medicine will increase. It’s up to public officials to monitor this trend, and stop it in its tracks.
To read the original editorial, click here.
Why is it a bad thing when Catholics insist on following its beliefs in hospitals (no abortions, etc.) but its not a bad thing when people with other religious beliefs or no beliefs, insist on imposing its tenets on Catholic institutions. In my small home town there was a Catholic hospital and a “Protestant” hospital. We all knew where to go when we were sick. Religious freedom is the norm in this country as long as its beliefs don’t contradict the beliefs on non-religious people; at least that is what they tell us. Its time for a change?
How many dead babies will be enough to satisfy the Los Angeles Times?
Those Doctors and Patients who want to murder innocent human beings for the convenience of others will just have to go to a non-Catholic hospital for abortions,
as well as euthanasia, contraception, and voluntary sterilization.
No big deal.
Us women who want real health care will go to Catholic hospitals.
When Bishops are correct (in full accord with the Gospel and the CCC) we must support them publically.
We must pray for them to have the strength to state the TRUTH at all times.
If the LA Times , ACLU, or any other organization does not like it, let them start their own hospital, rather than trying to FORCE their OWN beliefs on others.
Catholic Hospitals advertise themselves as Catholic. There are no surprises for anyone.
Truth in Advertising.
If you want death and torture for an unborn human being, contraceptives, euthanasia, etc., go elsewhere.
It is a free Country – but not if the LA Times and ACLU have their way.
Wow, toe jargon was so persistent I had to think in a secular frame of mind and scrub my brain after with copious Hail Mary’s just to get through that. What the bottom line in all that double speak is is that the ‘reproductive rights’ (unfettered right to kill children in California) must take precedence over the ‘business of Catholics running a hospital’. The depth of ignorance regarding what IS Catholic and WHAT constitutes Catholic teaching regarding the sick, there are not enough superlative adjectives to describe it. Before someone writes an editorial piece like that, they need to do some informed research. Ridiculous!
LA is a big city with lots of hospitals. The “pro-choice (pro-abort)” people have lots of “choices” of hospitals to go to. They are only happy, though, when they can impose their immoral ideology on everyone.
I am so pleased that bishops “ticked off” the LA Times — that is a good thing!! (I would like to know the 2 bishops who dissented from Catholic teaching and voted “no”).
Transparency is good. I also would like to know how each Bishop votes at the USCCB.
We have the right to know the Faithful versus the heretics.
Just look at the language used in these excerpts from CCD’s summary of the editorial: “a Catholic chain”, “abruptly informed”, “a bishop taking their place?”, “the threat …will increase.”
As I told a Protestant friend yesterday, believe NOTHING about the Church that you read in the secular press.
The following column by Law Professor Mike Adams on Downhill is of considerable rolevance:
“Abortion and Human Trafficking
*Author’s note: The following is an actual letter I sent to my pastor. If your church is involved in the fight against human trafficking but silent on the issue of abortion then, please, feel free to plagiarize this letter and send it to your pastor.
My sole motivation in republishing this letter is to help those who wish to approach their pastors on this issue but have difficultly framing the issue in a respectful manner. https://townhall.com/columnists/mikeadams/2014/11/17/abortion-and-human-trafficking-n1918891/page/full
Mike, it is good news to hear that our church getting involved in the issue of human trafficking, which is evil for one very simple and obvious reason: it justifies treating people as commodities by first denying their humanity. In that sense it is analytically indistinguishable from abortion.
For years, doctors have denied the humanity of the unborn so they can profit from the practice of performing abortions. Many of those who seek abortions on the basis of financial considerations share the same moral culpability. However, some are just scared and alone and honestly believe they cannot afford to have a child. Those are the people our church should be helping. To my knowledge, we are not.
We need to ask ourselves why we are openly boasting of our efforts to end human trafficking while remaining mute on the issue of abortion…
The time has come for us to start a rescue fund for these women. We need to make funds available to help them avoid the abortion choice – and we need to explain that we are doing so because it is not a morally neutral choice. The church, of all places, cannot remain a zone of moral neutrality when it comes to this issue.
The Partisan Leftist / Radical Gender Feminist / Gaystapo Propagandist of ‘our’ Bought and Paid For ‘free press’ have certain rules regarding Censorship (like the Blackmail of Governor ‘Der Arnold’ over his ‘secret’ extra son, or the Larry Brinkin Racist Toddler Rape-Porn ring run out of the ‘in-human’ rights’ comm in Frisco)…
And certain rules regarding the Proper Spin to stories and parties – particularly their designation of some as Too Un-Good for anything save denunciation. Scott Lively not only qualifies, but as an accomplished and knowledgable public speaker is capable of defending his positions – when given the chance, which is rare it ever in this Age of Abomination:
The crucifixion of Pastor Scott Lively
by J. Matt Barber 11/17/14
…Pastor Lively, you see, has, in the spirit of Saul Alinsky, been “Hitlerized” by a left-wing extremist group ironically calling itself the “Center for Constitutional Rights” (CCR). CCR is a George Soros-funded organization with, I kid you not, the beastly street address of 666 Broadway, New York, NY.
Because Lively exercised his God-given First Amendment rights, as well as his free-speech rights afforded by the laws of Uganda, and spoke biblical truth about homosexual sin after having been invited there by a number of Ugandan pro-family groups, homosexual activists set-out to make an example of him.
In March of 2012 CCR sued Lively in a Massachusetts federal court for “crimes against humanity” – the same charge filed against Nazis who stood trial in Nuremberg – on behalf of another moonbat organization called “Sexual Minorities Uganda,” which, and again, you can’t make this stuff up, prefers the moniker “SMUG.”
And so Lively enlisted the pro-bono legal services of Liberty Counsel, one of America’s fastest-growing civil rights organizations…
So how could such an Orwellian lawsuit – clearly designed as a weapon to both harass and intimidate Lively and anyone else who might dare challenge the global homosexual activist political agenda – even make its way into a U. S. federal court?
Well, CCR and SMUG’s angle was to circumvent that pesky ol’ First Amendment, as well as Ugandan free-speech laws, through a gross misapplication of the Alien Tort Statute. Normally, this would have been laughed out of court and, in fact, just last year, even as this case was ongoing, the U.S. Supreme Court unequivocally ruled this very tactic to be unlawful.
But there’s nothing normal about this case.
Meet federal Judge Michael Ponsor. Ponsor, who thumbed his nose at the Supreme Court and denied Liberty Counsel’s slam dunk Motion to Dismiss, is the textbook example of a judicial activist…
What does Scott Lively have to do with Southern California Catholic hospitals?
Six of one, half dozen of the other.
All Catholic hospitals can really do is change where abortions are performed. There’s not much difference between a medical office building at a hospital and within the hospital building itself, is there?
This is not limiting access, simply sending a message of disavowal, and removing the hospital (physically, and legally, to a degree) from culpability.
Why do we idiots keep ignoring the core question? Does the pre-born zygote, embryo, fetus, or baby have the same rights as his or her mother? We all know instinctively, that he or she does, and we know scientifically, medically, and philosophically that he or she is also a perons! To kill a pre-born, an act we hide behind the term abortion, is to commit murder, pure and simple. The L.A Times is complicit in the killing of our own citizens. Slavery was a picnic by comparison!!
Today’s Catholic institutions, are NOT “CATHOLIC!” Too many imbecile misfits think they can get away with living immorally, by irresponsible, babyish “hippie freedoms!” There is really no such thing, as “freedom!” There is only RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL OF ONE’S ACTIONS!! And everyone is also RESPONSIBLE TO GOD, FOR ALL OF ONE’S ACTIONS!! I recall the days when nursing orders of nuns ran Catholic hospitals, and the whole world knew what a Catholic school or hospital was! The post-Vatican II Church of today, is very weak and immature! It lacks the dedication of Christ and His Apostles, to firmly teach Christ’s Truth, from womb to tomb– and stand by it, no matter what— for love of God! A big responsibility!! Properly educated Catholic doctors, nurses, and medical personnel, all should know their Faith and Morals, very thoroughly!
Loyola Marymount U. now pays for abortions through its Medical Insurance. Loyola Marymount is now OFFICIALLY NON CATHOLIC! The few Catholic’s that teach and work there are now endangered species, but what is Arch. Gomez doing about it, NOTHING!
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika and His Church!
Viva Cristo Rey!
Yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc
I grew up in the ‘Pipeline 2 Vietnam’; One of the last to go through a Military Draft Lottery that forcibly inducted Millions of Men (Only); leading to the Deaths of nearly 60.000 and counting (PTSD still takes many).
Like many Men before me I chose a branch and volunteered (USCG) – Unlike the past two VPs who ducked out with 5 deferments each. BTW – CIC / POTUS ‘Down Low Soetoro’ never served – although his Draft Registration is a clumsier forgery than his other scams.
We were told the Male Only Draft was Justified to protect “Innocent Women & Children”; similar to the ‘Law of the Sea’ cited by 2nd Officer C.H. Lightoller of RMS Titanic – Who loaded Only ‘Women & Children First’ in the Lifeboats.
The Oldest Male he allowed was a Boy age 13, whereas numerous elderly females (mainly Upper Class) got seats that could have saved lower class Children – kept segregated below decks until the boats were launched. BTW – Lightoller himself survived only by chance.
Hence – arguments that ‘Women’s Rights’ Justify Killing Innocent Children…
Including the Same Children Men have long been Sacrificed to Save, even if He was Drafted to do so – highlight a hypocrisy in the sham of ‘gender equality’ that is too taboo to discuss – particularly by the ‘watchdogs of truthiness’ of our bought and paid for ‘free press’.
Western Males accept such sacrifices to protect Future Generations birthed by Pregnant Women they never met – Not to Protect a ‘Choice’ to Kill Them.
Recently, all the Mercy Catholic Hospitals in Sacramento area have been renamed “dignity health”. Am I the only one who gets the connection with the “death with dignity” movement?
I don’t want to go to Dignity. I want to go to Mercy. Mercy trumps dignity.