Catholic Doctrines Imposed When Hospitals Become Secular
In the sale of several Catholic hospitals to secular entities, the Catholic Church has imposed conditions of sale that stipulate a continued ban, sometimes indefinite, on healthcare options such as abortion previously forbidden under Catholic doctrine, according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune. Under purchasing agreements, buyer hospitals adopt the church’s Ethical and Religious Directives, which include prohibitions on procedures such as abortions, sterilization, in-vitro fertilization, as well as any discussions regarding the proper use of condoms in reducing the risk of infection by HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, many women, including rape victims, are denied information on emergency contraception. The condition of sale jeopardizes women’s reproductive rights, particularly for those who unsuspectingly enter hospitals with secular names. “I don’t see how religious restrictions are appropriate at a hospital that has no connection whatsoever with a religious entity,” said director Lois Uttley of MergerWatch, a group working to protect reproductive freedoms in newly secular hospitals.
In the first case nationwide surrounding this issue, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer last year forced Santa Marta Hospital in Los Angeles to remove its directives as a condition of its sale to Star Healthcare Group, saying “I will not allow Catholic health systems to impose their ethical principles on secular, for-profit business. I think that’s overreaching on their part,” according to the Tribune.
Media Resources: Chicago Tribune 9/17/02; MergerWatch 10/2/02
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .