The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has declared war on Catholic hospitals for refusing to provide abortions.
The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to get access to all documents related to complaints against Catholic hospitals refusing to perform abortions. The suit is part of a plan to either force Catholic hospitals to do abortions, or shut them down.
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“Upon information and belief, these complaints describe serious harm – including major blood loss and life-threatening infection – that women experienced after being denied appropriate care by Catholic hospitals,” the lawsuit reads.
Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU Brigitte Amiri accused Catholic hospitals in a blog post on the ACLU website of nearly killing women for refusing to provide abortions. She cited one woman who needed emergency surgery after a Catholic hospital would not give her an abortion:
We assume there are other complaints that we don’t know about yet. As our recent report documents, the number of Catholic hospitals continues to climb, along with the number of women coming forward to tell their story of being denied care at a Catholic hospital. In 2016, one in six hospital beds in the U.S. are in a facility that complies with Catholic directives, which prohibit a range of reproductive health care, even when a woman’s life or health is in jeopardy.
We know that the government knows there is a problem. The government’s answer to today’s lawsuit will tell us precisely what they know. And we expect them to help fix this problem and use federal law to protect women.
Hospitals violate the law when they refuse to provide emergency medical care or provide information about a patient’s condition. The federal government should systematically investigate Catholic hospitals and hold them accountable. No woman should rush to the hospital and fear for her life because of religious rules that force hospitals to turn patients away without providing the proper care.
The ACLU pointed to an investigation from The Guardian that alleged several women had their lives endangered because Michigan doctors would not abort their fetuses. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, defended the hospitals saying, “courts have consistently upheld the right of Catholic hospitals to abide by the Church’s moral and ethical guidelines, which, of course, prohibit abortion.”
“Their obsession with Catholic hospitals, as they make clear again today on their website, is driven by the fact that ‘the number of Catholic hospitals continues to climb,’” Donohue said in a statement. “Most people would see that as a good thing—extending the excellent care provided by Catholic hospitals to more people and more communities. But to the ACLU it is a problem, and that is because Catholic healthcare is based on respect for every human life.”
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