Catholic hospitals limit women's health services | Arkansas Blog

Monday, May 27, 2013

Catholic hospitals limit women's health services

Posted By on Mon, May 27, 2013 at 7:12 AM


The New York Times wrote about this earlier and now Daily Kos has expanded on the theme.

Catholic hospital systems are the largest in the country and their growth has implications for health services, primarily to women (though men have some shared interests in reproductive issues.)

It's a critically important issue in Arkansas, where the state's only teaching hospital, UAMS, is talking about a combination with St. Vincent Health. The Catholic hospital, which already receives tax benefits and publicly financed (Medicare, Medicaid) patients, would qualify for the higher reimbursement rates afforded under Medicare for teaching hospitals, a huge infusion of money, if the merger goes through. But would it over time restrict St. Vincent services from contraception, to in vitro fertilization, to abortion and more?The bishop of Arkansas, who has influence in the matter, says properly from his point of view that of course it would as far as St. Vincent is concerned There are secondary issues among the potentially blended workforce on employment policies related to sexual orientation and employee health insurance coverage of birth control pills and other services frowned upon by church doctrine.

Writes Daily Kos:

For many communities, a Catholic facility is already the only choice. And with the accelerating trend of hospital mergers and partnerships, policies forbidding contraception, abortion and sterilization are becoming the norm at formerly public hospitals. In cities around America, the result is growing confusion for physicians and greater risk for their patients.

Specifics are cited:

* An end to abortions at a Washington hospital that had provided them for decades.

* An end to sterilization as well as abortion at a Texas hospital.

* A physician wrote of his experience at another hospital:

[Raghavan's wife], a woman, also pregnant with twins, whose pregnancy was failing, threatening infection that could jeopardize her ability to have future children and perhaps her life. Distraught, she and her husband decided to terminate the pregnancy—only to learn the Catholic hospital would not perform the procedure

* From a New Hampshire hospital:

Physicians at the hospital, which had recently merged with a Catholic health care system, told her they could not end the miscarriage with a uterine evacuation—the standard procedure—because the fetus still had a heartbeat. She had no insurance and no way to get to another hospital, so a doctor gave her $400 and put her in a cab to the closest available hospital, about 80 miles away. "During that trip, which seemed endless, I was not only devastated but terrified," Prieskorn told Ms. "I knew that, if there were complications, I could lose my uterus—and maybe even my life."

* A widely publicized case in Arizona where a pregnant woman with heart failure sought treatment:

Physicians concluded that, if she continued with the pregnancy, her chances of mortality were "close to 100 percent." An administrator, Sister Margaret McBride, approved an abortion, citing a church directive allowing termination when the mother's life is at risk. Afterward, however, the local bishop, Thomas Olmsted, said the abortion had not been absolutely necessary. He excommunicated the nun and severed ties with the hospital, although the nun subsequently won reinstatement when she agreed to confess her sin to a priest.

In some places, the problem is acute because the merged institutions leave areas with no option but the religious-affiliated hospital with restricted services. That would't be the case if the UAMS-St. Vincent merger occurs in Little Rock, but it doesn't diminish the public policy question of having a publicly subsidized institution with restrictive health policies otherwise freely available by law.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (24)

Showing 1-24 of 24

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-24 of 24

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016
  • Arkansas Supreme Court refuses to rehear invalidation of marijuana act

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a request to rehear its decision invalidating Issue 7, the medical marijuana initiated act.
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation