By Amy Littlefield
A new study has revealed just how little patients understand about how Catholic hospitals restrict health care.
At least 1 in 6 acute-care beds nationwide follow, to some degree, Catholic rules that ban sterilization, abortion, in vitro fertilization, and all contraception except for natural family planning. But many patients still expect to receive these services in Catholic institutions, according to a study published Wednesday in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. This lack of information can put their health—and sometimes their lives—at risk.
First, researchers measured whether participants recognized a hospital as Catholic based on a religious name. Asked about a hypothetical hospital named “Saint John’s,” only 46 percent said they thought of it as Catholic. Women with annual household incomes of less than $25,000 a year were less likely to identify Saint John’s as Catholic than those with higher incomes.
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