Catholic hospitals are springing up across the world and are posing great health risks to the public. The ACLU reports that one in six hospitals in America is affiliated with Catholicism. This means these facilities are legally able to deny a wide range of health care services, including reproductive rights.
All forms of abortion are prohibited in Catholic hospitals. If the fetus stands no chance of survival or the mother's life is in danger they still will not perform the life-saving abortion. By not providing this care these hospitals are in direct violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. This law states that any hospital receiving Medicare funding to give treatment for an emergency medical condition. Catholic hospitals do in fact receive funding from the government. Catholic-affiliated hospitals received $27 billion in combined Medicare and Medicaid net revenue in 2011.
Laurie Roberts is one of the many denied the reproductive care she needed. She was a mother of two with her third child on the way. When she began to have a light pink discharge, she went to the ER, not knowing this was a Catholic physicality. They told her to go home and come back if she began bleeding again. When she inevitably did she returned and was told she was having a miscarriage. The fetus was no longer viable but it still had a heartbeat and thus she was sent home once again. Later that same day she began bleeding heavily and passed the embryo on her own. She eventually passed out and was taken to that same ER room. This is when she discovered by a doctor that after her second visit she should have never been sent home. She instead should have received a dilation and curettage- a form of miscarriage management. However, because this procedure wasn't performed early enough she nearly died as a result.
Not only can patients be denied reproductive rights but they can be denied their right to die with dignity. In Colorado, where physician-assisted suicide is legal Catholic hospitals are deciding not to provide the treatment to patients who desire it. Despite the fact that residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of the initiative.
Many of these facilities are popping up in rural America and this isn't a coincidence. The Catholic church knows that by setting up in rural areas of the country they are often one of the few if not only places some can receive treatment.
Sometimes medical staff may want to perform a procedure for a patient but if that procedure conflicts with Catholic beliefs they aren't prevented from doing so. However, the interpretation of the Catholic doctrine varies from hospital to hospital so some procedures that may be off limits at one may be okay at another.
Along with abortion and physician-assisted suicide, these hospitals can restrict various other forms of care from their patients. They can prohibit the prescription of birth control, vasectomies, tubal ligations, emergency contraception and procedures related to gender transition. Likewise, a Catholic hospital in Texas has forced patients who miscarriage to consent to a fetal burial.
In a country where church and state are legally to remain separate, religious health facilities constitute an infringement on citizens' rights. Whether you agree or disagree with the practices of abortion or physician-assisted suicide is not the issue at hand. These healthcare facilities are blatantly denying patients legal procedures while simultaneously receiving government funding. Ultimately, Catholic health institutions strip people of their right to choose their medical treatment in the name of taxpayer dollars.