Report claims that because these hospitals follow Church teaching in regards to reproductive care, they put women at risk, but Catholics defend quality health care and rights of Church-run institutions.
NEW YORK CITY — The American Civil Liberties Union’s claims that Catholic hospitals are denying emergency care to pregnant women in the U.S. isn’t about health care — it’s about forcing religious groups to perform abortions, critics say.
A recent ACLU report finds that one out of every six beds in the country’s acute-care hospitals is in a hospital with Catholic affiliations and that Catholic hospitals make up 15%, or 548, of the country’s hospitals. The report claims that because these hospitals follow Church teaching in regards to reproductive care, they put women at risk.
All Catholic hospitals operate under the U.S. Bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” which ban abortion, sterilization and emergency contraception or tubal ligations.
Marie Hilliard, the director of public policy for the National Catholic Bioethics Center, told theGuardian that if the directives are properly followed, a woman’s life should not be at risk.
“If the directives are properly applied, there should be no compromise of the well-being of human beings,” Hilliard said.
The ACLU has long opposed Catholic hospitals operating according to Catholic teaching. The ACLU and the group the MergerWatch Project co-authored a 2013 report that claimed the growth of Catholic hospitals was a “miscarriage of medicine.” In 2015, the ACLU sued Trinity Health Corp., one of the largest Catholic health-care operations in America, located in the Detroit area, for refusal to perform abortions and tubal ligations. The lawsuit was dismissed.
Dr. Thomas Hilgers is the founder and director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine. He said that the latest report from the ACLU is another attempt by the group to impose its views on Catholic hospitals, especially in regards to abortion.
“They’re constantly imposing their value system on the rest of us, and, to me, that’s just unconscionable,” he told CNA/EWTN News.
“What they’re trying to do, in a lot of ways, is get rid of the Catholic Church; the Catholic Church has been their target for a long time, even though the Catholic Church has been a leader in health care over the years. There’s lots of Catholic hospitals around taking care of people who can’t pay their bills and really providing good medical care, but that doesn’t make any difference to (the ACLU).”