By Amy Littlefield
Ebonie Bailey was seven months pregnant when she and her family moved to Waterloo, Iowa, for her husband’s job at John Deere. Her provider back home had recommended the midwives at Covenant Medical Center, one of two hospitals in town. Ahead of her delivery there, Bailey toured the sprawling brick building. She was surprised when the tour guide pointed out that the hospital had two sides: one Catholic, the other not.
“I was like, ‘I don’t understand. Do you mean like, there’s a church over there?’” Bailey recalled. “And they were like, ‘Well, there’s certain procedures that cannot be done on that side of the hospital.’”
“I was like, what? What year are we in?” Bailey said. “I was so confused.”
Unbeknownst to many patients who rely on them, Catholic hospitals like Covenant are supposed to follow religious directives that ban abortion, sterilization, and all contraception except for natural family planning. But some of these hospitals have found creative ways to get around the rules.
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