- The Washington Post published an article stoking fears about the growth of Catholic hospitals, which do not offer elective abortions, elective sterilization or contraceptives.
- The authors worried that the dominance of Catholic hospitals in some regions would limit poor people’s ability to have abortions or undergo medical sterilizations such as vasectomies.
- “Pro-abortion advocates are only making this claim in this post-Roe era in an attempt to confuse elective abortion with lifesaving pregnancy treatment and promote abortion at any point in pregnancy for any reason,” Dr. Christina Francis, an OB-GYN, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Washington Post published an article Monday sharply criticizing Catholic hospitals’ longstanding policy of refusing to perform abortions, sterilizations and other procedures the Catholic Church considers unethical.
The authors worry that Catholic hospitals, which reportedly control about one in seven hospital beds in the U.S., are restricting the types of medical procedures accessible to people in poor and rural areas. The Catholic Church opposes elective abortion, contraception and elective sterilization, and Catholic hospitals generally do not offer those interventions.
Dr. Christina Francis, an OB-GYN, told the Daily Caller News Foundation the article was part of an effort from abortion supporters to convince people that restrictions on elective abortion will limit medical professionals’ ability to provide life-saving care. (RELATED: ‘Racism’: Rep. Cori Bush Says Doctors Forced Her To Have An Abortion)
“This is a false claim that can be easily disproven by showing their excellent track record,” she said. “Pro-abortion advocates are only making this claim in this post-Roe era in an attempt to confuse elective abortion with lifesaving pregnancy treatment and promote abortion at any point in pregnancy for any reason. Catholic institutions will continue to be able to provide the life-affirming care they have always provided and targeting them will only serve to worsen the maternal healthcare deserts that already exist in this country.”
1 in 7 hospital beds is now controlled by a Catholic institution. Under religious doctrine, they prohibit elective reproductive services: abortion, but also contraception and sterilization.
— Meena Venkataramanan (@mvenk82) October 10, 2022
Catholic hospitals acquired many smaller institutions in recent years as part of a broader trend of consolidation in health care, and four of the ten largest hospital systems in the U.S. are Catholic, according to the article. Catholic providers are now the sole providers of short-term acute hospital care in more than 52 communities across the country.
The authors worry that poor people and those in rural communities will have a difficult time getting abortions, vasectomies and related procedures if the only nearby medical facility is a Catholic medical center. They also inaccurately state that Catholic policies restrict treatment options for ectopic pregnancies; doctors at Catholic hospitals with institutional bans on elective abortions routinely treat ectopic pregnancies, which are a threat to the life of the mother and can never result in a viable pregnancy.
“Every medical professional or institution operates on ethical principles that necessarily draw boundaries around which medical practices they will and won’t engage in,” Francis said. “Having completed my residency at a Catholic hospital, I can say that the boundaries that these institutions maintain do not stop them from providing comprehensive and lifesaving medical care to women and their children. Catholic hospitals and prolife medical professionals treat women facing potentially life-threatening conditions using the most compassionate and respectful means, even if it means separating a patient and her still-living preborn child before the point of viability in order to save her life.”
“The directives are not just a collection of dos and don’ts,” John F. Brehany, executive vice president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, told The Washington Post. “They are a distillation of the moral teachings of the Catholic church as they apply to modern health care.”
The Washington Post did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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