All across this country women are being turned away because hospitals are allowing religion to take precedence over medical standards of care. Today one in six U.S. hospital beds is in a facility that abides by the directives.
Mercy Medical Center denied one woman's request to be sterilized after giving birth.
Many OB/GYNs only have admitting privileges at one hospital. Insurance companies increasingly are limiting patients' choice of hospitals. In rural areas, there is often only one hospital. That means more women are at risk of having their medical care decided by bishops, not doctors.
The effects of the doctrine on care are complex and merit a better response than telling women they can get their reproductive health needs met elsewhere. Ultimately, institutions providing ob-gyn care must be held to the same standards regardless of their religious affiliation -- and if not -- who will make sure patients understand how their care may be compromised?
The decision by the Catholic Health Association puts the hospitals at odds with the Catholic hierarchy, which last week rejected