Religious views were put to the test on Monday, when a Catholic hospital had to redecide to offer a woman post-birth sterilization. Only after the ACLU threatened to sue the hospital did the doctors go “according to plan” and offer the woman the help she needed. This is only one indicator as to how reproductive health conflicts are so present in hospitals which we could deem religious.
In this particular case we are talking about the Mercy Medical Center, which is owned by Dignity Health, based in San-Francisco and also happens to be the fifth-largest private health care network in the country. Back in April, the hospital denied Rachel Miller a tubal ligation after her caesarean section.
Rachel Miller is expected to give birth next month and the reasoning behind the hospital’s denial is the prohibition of “inherently evil” reproductive health care procedures, according to the church’s Ethical and Religious Directives. Who knew that God deems care after birth as “evil”?
Miller and her attorney decided to make a stand and asked the ACLU for help in order to protest what seemed to be an absurd decision. And the ACLU responded. In a letter to Dignity Health, the ACLU claimed that the hospital was not being fair to Miller due to her sex and that theology was used as a means to deny her the health privileges that she was entitled to.
While the hospital “changed its mind” and offered to help Miller with the tubal ligation that is required after birth, the ACLU mentioned that something has to be done on a larger scale. They were happy that Miller got the treatment she needed, but how many other women from the U.S. have to come to them or their attorneys to receive normal treatment?
“While we’re grateful Mercy Medical has agreed to provide medical care in this instance for Ms. Miller, the reality remains that there is a clear conflict between the best interests of patients and the directives of the Catholic hospital system.”
Miller must not have ever been the only woman who went through this event, since there are no other hospitals in her area which are not Catholic-affiliated and the next closest hospital is only 70 miles away.
It is important that authorities and locals take note of this event, not only to set some right standards, but for the sake of all the families in the countries who are going to have to have a baby with Catholic-affiliated hospitals.
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