A Bishop In The Exam Room: When Faith Dictates Health Care Instead Of Science

Jun 28, 2016

By Erica Hellerstein & Josh Israel

When Rita, a Michigan-based OB-GYN, learned that the hospital where she worked would be switching hands, she was dismayed.

The secular community hospital, Crittenton, had plans to join with Ascension Health, a prominent Catholic nonprofit hospital chain. Rita, who asked that her real name be withheld to protect her identity, knew the transition would profoundly impact her ability to do her job the way she saw fit. The OB-GYN specifically wanted to work at a place where she could practice the full scope of reproductive care, from preventing pregnancy to delivering babies. But now, with the hospital merger looming in the not-so-distant future, that possibility seemed increasingly unlikely.

Rita also understood the change in leadership meant that her patients’ medical options would be limited. That’s because Catholic hospitals follow a set of rules written by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which often prohibit doctors from performing basic reproductive services — like contraception, sterilization, in vitro fertilization, abortion — and end-of-life care.

Although Rita knew certain services at the hospital would soon be banned, many of her patients had no idea. They also may not have known that mergers like Crittenton’s are becoming increasingly common.

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5 comments on “A Bishop In The Exam Room: When Faith Dictates Health Care Instead Of Science

  • Catholic nonprofits

    Really? These mackerel snappers are profiting mightily. More power for their ideological idiocy as more hospitals are acquired and forced to obey the directives of pedophile enablers.

    Having once snapped the mackerel myself I know power and control over all is the church’s main goal. No one uses the carrot (good, inexpensive/indigent hospital care ) and the stick ( this and that are verboten! ) better than the catholic church.

    Hit them in the money. No medicaid, nor medicare and no government grants. These people have to be stopped from reaching a majority hospital number because their extant restrictions are only the tip of the iceberg to what they would want to do.

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  • So it’s ok with the moderators of this board for a so called “open minded” person to use the derogatory term “mackerel snappers”? Can’t this issue be discussed intelligently without name calling?

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  • Surely a hospital owned by a religious group should be restrained from imposing its religious beliefs.

    If they refused, the government could withhold all payments. If they still refused, the government could expropriate them.

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